Steel Products Prices North America

Long Lead Times at AK Steel Helping to Keep CR Spot Prices High

Written by John Packard

Steel buyers are confiding in Steel Market Update and have been telling us that the tightness in cold rolled spot prices, which this past week SMU had as being $760-$820 per ton ($38.00/cwt-$41.00/cwt), is partially due to the extended lead times at AK Steel.

According to steel buyers, AK Steel had to deal with “the perfect storm,” a growing automotive order book while trying to catch up on more than a month’s lost production. AK Steel was behind on their orders back in June when the mill had furnace issues and ultimately had an unplanned outage on their blast furnace at Middletown. They have been trying to catch up ever since. The net result being the mill has had limited influence on the spot markets. Buyers who buy from AK Steel are telling SMU their spot cold rolled number is around $41.50/cwt and lead times are out until the week of May 19th.

One service center told SMU that they haven’t asked AK for a spot number as, “They are promising my March orders in May.”

Cold rolled spot prices in the Midwest was referenced by a number of service centers as being $39.00/cwt-$41.00/cwt base price ranges while the Southeast was reported to be at least $20 per ton less expensive.

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