Thus far, 2011 has seen a continuation of rising prices in the flat rolled steel market that began in November 2010. Increases to base steel pricing have been observed at 30%. In an effort to stave off some of the impact of these price hikes, ARF will continue to take steps to assist customers in maneuvering to minimize this burden. First, and foremost, ARF will be conducting dialogues with our customers concerning their forward and forecasted requirements. In addition, we will arrange for the purchase of limited blocks of material to soften the impact of future price hikes when a mutual benefit exists. Block purchasing can, and has helped significantly in similar situations in the past.
Future steel price volatility will continue in the short term. Success in these types of markets is dependent upon our continued partnerships and dialogues with you, our customer, and the providing of timely information to help in the decision-making process.