HRC prices dashes past $850/t in US; $900/t ahead?

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have shot past $42.50 per hundredweight ($850 per short ton), and there is little on the horizon to stop them from hitting $45 per cwt or even $50 per cwt, market participants said.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $42.53 per cwt on Friday December 4, up by 1.31% from $41.98 per cwt on December 3 and up by 9.05% from $39 per cwt before the Thanksgiving holiday.

US hot band prices now stand at their highest since $42.68 per cwt on August 30, 2018 – more than 27 months ago – when prices spiked amid the Section 232 market frenzy.

Heard in the market
Inputs were received from $42-45 per cwt. The lower end of that range was representative of offers from some mills as well as a deal for more than 1,000 tons. The higher end of the range was reflective of new, higher offers from certain mills following a big jump in domestic ferrous scrap prices – which appear to be up at least $70 per gross ton this month, with additional gains expected in January 2021.

Lead times varied widely depending on individual companies and their commercial strategies. For example, one mill has yet to officially open order books for 2021; another mill has already moved into February, either without having opened for January or having done so only briefly; and still others are effectively into March, sources said.

Rising prices are supported not only by increasing raw material costs and long lead times but also by higher prices abroad as well as by outages – planned and otherwise – across the North American supply chain. Further support comes from service centers and tube mills that have restocked at current prices and therefore have a vested interest in seeing prices move higher still, sources said.

The result: Sources said it is probably only a matter of time before prices hit $45 per cwt, and several said $50 per cwt is a possibility within the next month.

US HRC prices have not been at $50 per cwt since September 4, 2008, according to Fastmarkets’ records. That’s more than 12 years ago and shortly before the September 15, 2008, collapse of investment bank Lehman Brothers triggered a financial crisis.

Quote of the day
“It’s no longer trying to get an extra buck or two at a time. They are going to be asking for a heck of a lot of money,” one Gulf Coast steel consumer said. “When spot availability is this tight, the few pounds that they have to sell, they are going to get a really beefy premium for it.”

Elizabeth Ramanand in New York contributed to this report.

What to read next
Fastmarkets is inviting feedback on a change of publishing time for our ferro-chrome price in the Chinese domestic market as well as ferro-chrome import prices in Japan and South Korea, to 5-6pm Shanghai time from 2-3pm London time.
Fastmarkets is inviting feedback on a proposal change the publishing time for our silico-manganese, ferro-manganese and manganese ore port prices in China, to 5-6pm Shanghai time from 2-3pm London time.
The publication of Fastmarkets copper concentrates TC index, cif Asia Pacific was delayed on Friday March 26, due to a reporter error.
After a month-long consultation period, Fastmarkets has refined the delivery terms for its international nickel sulfate price assessments, with Japan and Korea now the only accepted locations.
After an extended consultation period, Fastmarkets has amended the specified brands in its cobalt standard grade and cobalt alloy grade price assessments.
A growing focus by consumers on Scope 3 carbon emissions is putting raw materials, such as bauxite and alumina, in the spotlight
We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.