HRC price moves above $63 per cwt in US

Hot-rolled coil pricing in the United States has again hit a historic high, moving above $63 per hundredweight, with no sign of downward pressure on the horizon, according to market participants.

Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $63.08 per cwt ($1,261.60 per short ton) on Monday March 8, up by 0.83% from $62.56 per cwt on Friday and by 0.91% from $62.51 per cwt on March 1.

Inputs were received across all three sub-indices in a range of $62-65 per cwt, representative of confirmed deals and general assessments of spot market pricing levels.

Heard in the market
Lead times remain extended, and the market dynamics that have catapulted hot band prices in the US to record levels remain unchanged: A shortage of material, a lack of pressure from competitively priced foreign HRC, strong end-market demand and rising raw material costs.

While No1 busheling prices in Chicago rose by $70 per gross ton during this month’s scrap trade, sources said that fluctuating input costs have less of an impact on spot pricing than the unprecedented supply crunch.

Simply put, market participants looking to make spot purchases are having an extraordinarily difficult time procuring material. 

While JSW Steel will be restarting its Mingo Junction, Ohio, electric-arc furnace this week, sources said that this development is unlikely to change the equation in the domestic market since competitors are scheduling mill outages for April and May.

Quote of the day

“I’m not really sure the change in scrap prices is going to have that much bearing for a little while, as the gap between busheling and HRC has just defied history and fundamentals,” one mill source said. “This market seems to be all about the demand that domestic buyers are placing on mills for more material.”

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