US HRC spot prices surge to 12-year high

Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have surpassed $930 per short ton, reaching levels not seen in well over a decade.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $46.78 per hundredweight ($935.60 per ton) on Monday December 14, up by 2.8% from $45.49 per cwt on Friday and by 6.6% from $43.89 per cwt one week earlier.

Inputs were received in a wide range of roughly $41-51.50 per cwt. The index’s outlier filter automatically removed inputs on the low, and high end of this range. This range represents confirmed purchases, deals heard, mill offers and assessments of current spot market prices.

Heard in the market
Domestic hot-rolled coil prices have eclipsed the post-Section 232 high of $45.84 per cwt on July 5, 2018, and now stand at their highest level since reaching $48 per cwt in late-September 2008.

US spot prices continue to soar due to an unprecedented supply squeeze, surging input costs and a complete absence of pressure from imported material.

Sources said spot prices continue to get more aggressive, with some quotes valid for only 24 hours.

Although end-market demand is strong and continues to recover from the Covid-19-induced nadir experienced during the spring of this year, supply-side considerations are the most significant source of upward pressure boosting spot market prices to historic highs.

Quotes of the day
“[Prices] are even more aggressive... Quotes are valid for only a day,” a southern service center source said.

“Demand is decently strong, but it’s all supply side driven,” a second southern service center source said of spot prices.

“The question is how high it’ll get? Is it $1000 [per ton], $1,200 [per ton]?” he added.

“The consistent buyers are the ones that are going to be okay,” a consumer source said.

Michael Cowden in Chicago contributed to this story.

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