US hot-rolled coil index steady at all-time high

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have remained at an all-time high while mills have benefited from a tight market, Fastmarkets has learned.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $59.23 per hundredweight ($1,184.60 per short ton) on Friday February 5, flat day on day, but up by 4.83% from $56.50 per cwt one week ago and roughly double $29.67 per cwt on February 5, 2020.

Inputs were received across all three sub-indices in a range of $55.00-62.50 per cwt on Friday, representing confirmed deals, mill offers and assessments. Inputs were carried over in the producer sub-index at the assessor’s discretion to minimize day-to-day volatility.

Heard in the market
The hot-rolled coil index stands at its highest since Fastmarkets started covering this segment of the domestic steel market in 1960, surpassing the previous record of $58 per cwt reached on January 14. Prices have more than doubled in five months, while demand in the automotive, construction and other sectors has outpaced production at domestic mills.

Imports cannot fill the domestic supply gap - in part because demand is high worldwide and in part because prices for offshore material are not competitive, even with domestic prices at record highs, sources said.

Steel imports from most countries are still subject to a 25% tariff under Section 232, and import offers being received now are for June and later arrival, too late to alleviate current tightness, according to sources.

Quote of the day
“I feel that it might be the last spike,” an East Coast trader said. “Buyers are very nervous about booking at such high prices. They will buy only what they can sell back to back, for distributors, or what they need for their current production.”

Patrick Fitzgerald in New York contributed to this report.

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