US hot-rolled coil index reaches nearly 28-month high

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have resumed their uptrend, with buyers on the sidelines waiting for mills to open their order books amid limited material availability, sources told Fastmarkets.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $44 per hundredweight ($880 per short ton) on Wednesday December 9, up by 0.64% after slipping to $43.72 per cwt on Tuesday December 8 and up by 8.64% from $40.50 per cwt one week earlier.

The index is now at its highest since August 16, 2018, when the price was calculated at $44.47 per cwt

Heard in the market
Inputs were received in a range of $42-49 per cwt.

Mill have been receiving orders at roughly $45 per cwt, most market participants said, and sources expect the coil price to hit $50 per cwt – a level not seen since early September 2008 – soon.

Market participants also said there was not much spot activity currently, with buyers waiting for material availability and mills essentially able to name their price for coil.

Quotes of the day
“I think HRC is tight and the spot buyers will pay anything. As a result, that’s increasing the cost for the normal buyers,” a steel distributor said.

A consumer source said: “2020 is definitely not a normal year, there is no calm before the holidays this year… Steel mills are not quoting spot tons until they open up their order books, but when they do the tons are gone quickly.”

Index calculation
An input at the top end of end range was discarded by the assessor because there have not yet been any reports of customers submitting purchase orders at that level.

An input at the lower end of the range also was discarded because it no longer reflects the current pricing market. A non-transactional input was carried over within the producer sub-index due to a lack of relevant transactions.

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