US hot-rolled coil index closes in on $1,240/t

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States continue to hit record highs, with further upside expected, Fastmarkets understands.

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.

Quote of the day
“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,” a second consumer source said. “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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