2020 PREVIEW: US HRC-scrap gap could prove perilous for steel

If you ask an executive at your local mill in the United States which way prices will go in 2020, they will probably tell you nowhere but up.

That would not be incorrect. Between late October and the end of last year, US steel mills rolled out four price increases totaling at least $150 per ton ($7.50 per hundredweight). And prices have since risen steadily.
Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US, for example, averaged $491.40 per ton in October - a three-year low - when the first price increase was announced.
US HRC prices jumped by 6.9% in November to a monthly average of $525.20 per ton and continued to rise into December, in large part due to higher scrap prices that month and in anticipation of additional gains in 2020.
Domestic mills were seeking HRC prices of at least $600 per ton heading into 2020 - a level that, if achieved, would represent a 22.1% gain from the October low.

The big questions are what demand and prices...

Published

January 09, 2020

08:00 GMT

Chicago