Steel Products Prices North America

Steel Prices Stumble and Falter Through the Month of February

Written by John Packard

The domestic steel mills did not announce any flat rolled steel price increases during the month of February. The last price increase announcement was made by USS/POSCO to their West Coast customers on January 30th. The last announcement on the East Coast was ArcelorMittal Dofasco which adjusted prices to take into account the lost value of the Canadian Dollar vs. the U.S. Dollar. The Dofasco announcement was made on January 2nd. The last announcement made by a U.S. based mill was NLMK USA on December 23rd when they announced base prices of $35.00/cwt on hot rolled and $40.50/cwt on cold rolled and coated. That was then – this is how we see the actual spot market price movements during the month of February. Spot flat rolled prices ended the month of February lower than where they began as each product weakened as the month progressed.

Essentially we saw scrap prices drop at the beginning of the month, service center inventories grew as foreign steel began coming into the U.S. ports in ever growing tonnages. At the beginning of February we had essentially all domestic mills running all of their available capacity as 4th Quarter and early 1st Quarter maintenance was completed.

We did catch a small blip on cold rolled and coated during the final week of the month as AK Steel lost their Ashland blast furnace for approximately 3 weeks due to cracks in the bottom of the furnace. This caused at least one of the mini-mills to take up some of their lower end offers on cold rolled and we saw coated spot prices freeze in response to AK’s troubles.

As you can see by the table below benchmark hot rolled average prices ended the month down $30, cold rolled down $25, galvanized down $15 and Galvalume down $25 per ton.

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