American Metal Market's hot-rolled coil index reached $35.32 per cwt ($706.40 per ton) on Thursday January 18, up by $1.34 per cwt ($26.80 per ton) from $33.98 per cwt ($679.60 per ton) previously. The index has risen in 12 of the last 14 weeks.
Lead times were reported around four to seven weeks.
The price jump also occurred about two weeks after most domestic sheet producers had announced a round of $40-per-ton ($2-per-cwt) price increases.
The sheet mills are marching in lockstep, according to a midwestern distributor. Bargains have become more difficult to find, this distributor said, noting that mill offers could climb as high as $37 per cwt ($740 per ton).
"I don't think there are any weak sisters right now, and the import is just not here," the Midwest distributor said. "What [import] is available is very, very minimal."
Market participants said most domestic steelmakers are firmly committed to prices exceeding $35 per cwt. The mills already had higher...