HRC price hovers around $56/cwt in US

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States stabilized on Wednesday January 27, with some market participants looking toward the February scrap settlement for the next indication of where prices might be headed.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $56.10 per hundredweight ($1,122 per short ton) on January 27, largely unchanged from $56.06 per cwt the previous day and $56.08 per cwt a week earlier.

Inputs were collected in a range from $53-60 per cwt. Transactional data was rolled into the consumer sub-index due to a lack of liquidity there.

Lead times were around 10-12 weeks, or late March into April, market participants said.

Producers continue to be busy while inventories remain low, sources said.

Some speculated about the impact that the February scrap settlement might have on hot band prices, with some predicting that potentially flat busheling prices could help stabilize the market.

Yet others expect busheling prices to fall next month, which could begin to chip away at the HRC price rally. It remains to be seen where prime scrap is headed for February.

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“Under the circumstances that spot availability is limited, I don’t anticipate that domestic mills are going to aggressively lower the spot coil price,” one distributor source said.

Robert England and Thorsten Schier, both in New York, contributed to this report.

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