US HRC price soars past $54 per cwt

Confirmed purchasing activity and extraordinarily volatile raw material costs have propelled hot-rolled coil prices in the United States past $54 per hundredweight.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index was calculated at $54.17 per cwt ($1,083.40 per short ton) on Thursday January 7, up 5.1% from $51.54 per cwt the previous day and by 5.2% from $51.50 per cwt on December 31.

Inputs were received in a wide range of $49-57 per cwt from all three sub-indices, including producers, distributors and consumers, representing assessments of current spot pricing levels, mill offers and confirmed purchasing activity.

Heard in the market
Skyrocketing ferrous scrap costs, in addition to an ongoing supply squeeze, continue to be the dominant factors boosting hot-rolled coil spot prices to levels not seen since they reached $54.50 per cwt from mid-May 2008 through early June 2008.

Domestic mills will no doubt be passing along surging input costs to buyers, sources said, after Detroit mills entered the monthly ferrous scrap trade offering to purchase prime scrap at a $100-per-gross-ton increase this month compared with December 2020 levels. Additionally, demand emanating from key steel-consuming end markets, particularly the automotive sector, remains strong.

With scant availability in February, lead times for most mills are now well into March and April, meaning the domestic market’s historic bull run is showing no signs of abating.

Quotes of the day
“You can bet your Christmas money the mills are not going to eat the increase in scrap cost… The end user and not the mills will pick up the tab,” a southern service center source said.

“Crazy times in the steel industry,” a consumer source said. “No signs of weakness; we are booming right now in all aspects of our business.”

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