HRC price in US tops $30/cwt for first time since early March

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have crossed the $30-per-hundredweight threshold for the first time in more than six months.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $30.08 per cwt ($601.60 per short ton) on Tuesday September 22, up by 1% from $29.78 per cwt on Monday and by 27.6% from $23.57 per cwt one month earlier.

Domestic HRC prices last exceeded $30 per cwt on March 6, when the index was calculated at $30.21 per cwt.

Heard in the market
Lead times were in a range of four to eight weeks, sources said on Tuesday.

Inputs were received within a narrow range of $30-32 per cwt, with the low end of that range representing confirmed transactions and the higher end mill offers that had not yet been accepted by the market.

To that point, mills reportedly started to quietly ask for $10-20 per ton more this week without issuing any formal price announcements.

Overall, market sources said the upward trend was being supported by improved demand from the automotive and construction end markets, mill outages and higher raw material costs.

Indeed, the only end market that has continued to languish is the oil and gas segment.

For the near term, elevated HRC prices could receive additional support from expectations of further gains in October’s ferrous scrap trade.

Quotes of the day

“November seems to be the ‘last month’ of a maintenance season at various plants. [The] market sure is tight for October/November deliveries. Having said that, most people seem to have been able to buy what they need. And when I say ‘need,’ I mean that buyers are not into speculative purchases these days,” one consumer source said.

“Everyone misjudged true demand, and the consequences of pounding producers into submission and then having the operating rates drop so low. Now buyers restock and buy against true demand, and it is hard for producers to react to increase production accordingly,” the same source added.

Index calculation
Inputs were discarded within the distributor and consumer sub-indices at the price reporter’s discretion since they reflected mill offers not yet accepted by buyers.

No data was collected via data submitter agreement.

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