HRC index remains above $62/cwt in US

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States dipped day on day, but remain high due to an ongoing supply shortage and strong demand.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $62.35 per hundredweight ($1,247 per short ton) on Wednesday March 3, down by 0.54% from $62.69 per cwt on Tuesday but still up by 1.48% from $61.44 per cwt on February 24.

Inputs were received across all three sub-indices in a range of $60.00-62.50 per cwt. Non-transactional inputs were rolled into the distributor sub-index at the assessor’s discretion to minimize day-to-day volatility.

Heard in the market
Some buyers believe that HRC prices still have room to grow due to difficulties obtaining spot tons with April or May shipment dates. Steel mills still have not caught up on shipments, they said.

Plus, scrap prices are poised to increase this month, lending further support to HRC prices, sources said.

But some market participants are beginning to cast doubt on how much steam is left in this price rally. They fear that the market could peak soon, with the expectation that prices could begin to drop in May.

That has made it difficult to sell imports for July and August arrival times, some said. Import offers seem to be drying up recently, they noted.

Quote of the day
“I don’t think HRC is still rocketing up,” a buyer source said. “The price increases have seemed to slow down and we may be at the peak after April’s books close, but I think pricing will stay high for a while until more supply opens up.”

Dom Yanchunas in New York contributed to this report.

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