US flat-steel import market muted again

US importers’ interest in foreign flat-rolled products – which have been largely uncompetitive against low-priced domestic goods under the Section 232 tariffs – remains mixed on uncertain outlooks for the first quarter of 2020, market participants told Fastmarkets.

Industry chatter has centered on the domestic market over the past two weeks, after US steel mills pushed out a second, widely anticipated $2-per-hundredweight ($40-per-short-ton) price increase on sheet products. The first price increase, announced in late October, was an effort to stop prices from sliding further, and the second was intended to actually collect the increase amount, sources said. And mills may get what they asked for this time - at least for the short term. Prices for most domestic flat-rolled steel products have risen steadily in the past two weeks, but prices previously rose after price increases this summer before falling to multi-year lows in late October. Mills have been able to quote higher prices because most have extended their lead times significantly, out to the end of December or even January, sources said, noting that certain mills have rejected some proposed deals from buyers for December delivery. And domestic prices may rise further...


Muyao Shen

November 14, 2019

23:10 GMT

New York