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A comprehensive look at the US steel flat-rolled market
US Steel flat-rolled products for the week of February 26, 2021
Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $61.85 per hundredweight ($1,237 per short ton) on Thursday February 25, up by 0.67% from $61.44 per cwt on Wednesday February 24 and 2.62% higher than $60.27 per cwt one week earlier.
Inputs were received across all three sub-indices in a range of $61-65 per cwt, representing mill offers and general assessments of spot market pricing levels.
Non-transactional inputs were carried over within the producer and distributor sub-indices to minimize day-to-day volatility. A non-transactional input at the high end of the range was discarded within the consumer sub-index at the assessor’s discretion because it could not be confirmed.
Heard in the market
Fastmarkets’ daily index has set a new all-time high in each of the past eight business days, and sources across the board expect the market’s bull run to continue.
While spot supply is already severely constricted, sources anticipate further tightening due to mill performance issues as a result of the extreme winter weather that recently paralyzed parts of the southern United States.
Some mills have reportedly increased their asking prices, and the bullish sentiment prevalent among market participants has been further underpinned by a lack of meaningful pressure from imported hot band, as well as by anticipated prime scrap price increases in March’s domestic ferrous scrap trade, sources said.
A consumer source also noted that additional tons expected to hit the US market from domestic and overseas suppliers in coming months will not be enough to rebalance the market, given exceptionally strong demand.
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Every mill I do business with is five-plus weeks behind on contract, all in the South. This is going to get a lot worse. Import tons are not enough to halt the rise and put supply in the market. Mark my words - this will get a lot worse.
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A number of people in the metals industry rely on our price assessments and indices to empower their business decisions everyday. We take this responsibility very seriously, and seize every opportunity to provide an explanation of how we, as a price reporting agency, provide this trustworthy data. Our methodologies are published and made accessible to ensure our price reporting process is fully transparent.
Our North American Steel Editor, Grace Asenov, walks you through how we price our US HRC Index in a quick video below.
You can access our full methodology and price specifications for US HRC Index here and for our other steel prices here.
HRC Index Indicators
Forecasting & analysis
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Why trust our HRC Index?
We understand how important hot-rolled coil (HRC) is to the steel industry, that’s why we provide a wide range of detailed coverage for this material. From prices and price forecasts to the latest breaking news plus long-term analysis of supply and demand our experts can prepare you for anything you need.
Due to increased volatility and feedback from participants in the flat-rolled markets, in November 2018 we increased the frequency of our HRC index to daily to provide a more market-reflective picture of what's happening. This means that every day our reporters are speaking to members of the steel market, understanding what transactions or impactful situations may have occurred that would shift the market.
As a customer, you can obtain a rich history of this market. We have been reporting on HRC, under the former brand American Metal Market, since 1960 with a weekly assessment. In July 2017, we moved our assessment to an index calculation based on market feedback.
Whether you produce, consume or trade HRC, you can rely on our market information to help ensure you make informed decisions for your business.
HRC, or hot-rolled coil, is the predominant finished steel form in the domestic and global steel industry and is the basis for many steel-based industrial products. Significant liquidity in the HRC market along with its importance as a raw material for manufacturers makes this a critical material with consistent volatility in its physical markets.
HRC is mostly used in industrial fabrication as well as in large end markets like automotive and construction. It also is used as a substrate in welded steel tube and pipe production and heavy industrial equipment in the agricultural industry. Participants active in the physical spot market for HRC includes steel mills, service centers, fabricators, and end users such as pipe mills or automotive companies.
Market participants use our HRC prices as escalators or de-escalators in their contracts, as benchmarks for physical and financial contracts, internal sales/purchasing performance evaluations, inventory appraisals and market trend analysis and forecasting. HRC prices also are generally used as an indicator of the health of a steel industry as it is the most commonly produced steel item, and so is often tracked by analysts and financial institutions.