US hot-rolled coil index steady ahead of domestic ferrous scrap trade

Hot-rolled coiled prices in the United States held essentially flat to begin February.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $56.56 per hundredweight ($1,131.20 per short ton) on Monday February 1, up by 0.1% from $56.50 per cwt on Friday January 29 and an increase of 2.7% from $55.07 per cwt one week earlier.

Inputs were collected in a range of $54-60 per cwt, representing confirmed deals, mill offers and general assessments of spot market pricing levels. A non-transactional input was carried over within the consumer sub-index due to a lack of liquidity.

Heard in the market
Hot-rolled coil lead times currently stretch from late March to early April, according to market participants.

Sources said the same recent confluence of factors – scant spot supply, low service center inventories, strong automotive demand and little pressure from imports – should keep prices stable, even if the cost of prime scrap declines during February’s domestic ferrous scrap trade.

Market participants reported little indication that more material will hit the market in the near term – either from imports or additional domestic output – leaving mills firmly in the driver’s seat of the current spot market.

Quote of the day
“If there’s any availability, the mills are naming their price,” according to a southern service center source. “As long as the mills accept low-volume performance, we’ll be in this price range for a while.”

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