Blip or paradigm shift? Prices for hot-rolled coil in the United States last month fell below those in China for the first time since at least 2013. The reversal of normal trends - Chinese prices are typically well below US levels - resulted from US domestic tags plummeting in July while Chinese prices recorded a third consecutive month of gains. The move has made it possible for US mills to export HRC beyond traditional export markets in Canada and Mexico, some sources said. Fastmarkets’ steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US averaged $460.60 per short ton ($23.03 per hundredweight) in July, down by 7.8% from an average $499.40 per ton in June and its lowest since averaging $415.20 per ton in March 2016. In contrast, the price assessment for steel hot-rolled coil domestic, exw Northern China averaged $486.94 per tone in July, up by 4.7% from $465.27 per ton in June and representing a 5.7% premium to US prices. HRC prices in Europe remain below those in the United States but - unlike domestic tags - have been trending upward. Fastmarkets’ steel hot-rolled coil index, exw Northern Europe averaged $433.99 per ton last month, up by 7.6% from $403.28 per ton in June - perhaps as a result of tighter import safeguards in the European Union and successful price increases.
A look at hot-rolled coil prices around the globe.