HRC price tops $560/t in US, but is it too much, too soon?

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have reached a nearly six-month high, with prices exceeding $28 per hundredweight ($560 per short ton) for the first time since late March.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $28.06 per cwt on Wednesday September 16, up by 1.4% from $27.67 per cwt a day earlier and by 3.5% from $27.11 per cwt on September 9. This is the first time the index has crossed the $28-per-cwt mark since reaching $28.02 per cwt on March 26.

Inputs were received between approximately $26 and $30 per cwt.

Heard in the market
Market participants expressed concern about lead times, noting that mills are running behind promised dates.

Most mills haven't opened their November order books yet, one market source said.

Some sources indicated that mills seem to be bullish, with the firming in market prices supporting mills' hikes, while others said the fresh round of price increases are too much, too soon.

Steelmakers have raised prices by $30-60 per ton over the past week.

Algoma Steel increased transaction prices for hot-rolled and cold-rolled sheet products by $50 per ton on Tuesday.

A day earlier, U.S. Steel Corp announced it was raising prices for spot flat-rolled steel orders by at least $60 per ton effective immediately. The company's West Coast subsidiary, USS-Posco Industries (UPI), also increased prices by the same amount for hot-rolled pickled-and-oiled, cold-rolled and galvanized product.
 
On September 10, ArcelorMittal increased base prices for spot hot-rolled coil orders to $30 per cwt, according to market participants. 
 
Rising ferrous scrap costs have contributed to the increase in HRC prices. 

One market participant said the coil price is solidifying, but added that they are only buying what they need.

Quote of the Day
“[Hot-rolled coil] is definitely showing a lot of strength,” one distributor source said. “We haven't bought anything; we don’t need anything right now.”

Index calculation
The assessor carried over transaction data in the consumer sub-index due to a lack of new inputs.

Elizabeth Ramanand

elizabeth.ramanand@fastmarkets.com

Published

Elizabeth Ramanand

September 16, 2020

21:11 GMT

New York