American Metal Market’s hot-rolled coil index moved to $45.84 per hundredweight ($916.80 per ton) on Thursday July 5, up 0.1% from $45.78 per cwt previously and a 40.5% increase from $32.63 per cwt at the beginning of this year. Hot-rolled coil prices are also up 50.3% from $30.50 per cwt a year ago and remain at their highest point since reaching $46.50 per cwt in October 2008, according to American Metal Market pricing records.
Lead times are in a wide range of four to nine weeks, market participants said.
Some market sources said prices are at or near a peak due to an anticipated rebound in imports in the second half and because President Donald Trump’s trade wars – now under way in China as well as in Canada, Mexico and the European Union – will hurt demand for US-made goods.
But others said the trade battles would squeeze supplies while leaving demand unscathed – a scenario that could lead prices...