US plate prices hit $45/cwt; may be cresting on weak Section 232

Plate prices in the United States have clocked in at their highest point in nearly six years - but opinions now diverge on whether they will continue to rise.

While some buyers fear shortages could drive prices even higher, others said watered-down Section 232 tariffs point to prices already being close to peaking. American Metal Market’s price assessment for cut-to-length plate currently stands at $45 per hundredweight ($900 per ton), up 2.3% from $44 per cwt ($880 per ton) previously and up a whopping 32.4% from $34 per cwt ($680 per ton) at the beginning of the year. Plate prices last hit $45 per cwt in late June 2012, according to American Metal Market pricing records. Lead times are out to late May at mills that have spot availability, but that availability is limited. Some producers have not opened their books for spot orders because they are busy with contract work, market participants explained. Prices still rising “With steel prices still heading higher, we remain bullish on US steel equities [and] expect guidance to highlight building earnings momentum,” Seth Rosenfeld, an equity analyst at...

Published

Michael Cowden

March 13, 2018

20:33 GMT

Chicago