Steel Products Prices North America

Russian or No Russian Hot Rolled Import Offers Continue

Written by John Packard

As expected, the Russian hot rolled tonnage won’t be missed for very long as Brazil, Turkey and other countries look to fill the void. The upside for buyers is the replacement mills produce a superior product to what was coming in from Russia.

At the moment we are being advised by current Russian buyers that they are rushing to have orders arrive prior to December 17th. One buyer advised us that his last Russian order will arrive in early December at $580 per ton, FOB the port of Houston.

The same buyer reported Turkish tons and Brazilian tons being offered at $29.50/cwt FOB Houston ($590 per ton). This includes a new mill out of Brazil owned by Gerdau called Acominas. There are also tons being offered out of Sidor in Venezuela (48” max width) at the same price level as Turkey and Brazil. SMU checked and there have not been any hot rolled tons exported out of Venezuela so far this year and no license requests to date.

Import licenses for the month of October are showing growth in Brazilian hot rolled exports to the United States as 41,205 net tons have been requested through the 24th of October. It is also showing growth out of Italy with 26,695 net tons and continued growth out of South Korea with its 83,764 net tons of license requests.

Other large suppliers of hot rolled into the United States in October include: Canada, Japan, Netherlands, Mexico, Australia, United Kingdom and France.

Larger buyers are seeing competitive offers in some cases at less than what the Russians were offering.

“I am seeing much lower HR prices from import than what the Russians were offering.  I have offers at [price levels less than $29.50/cwt] on really good import at this time.  I don’t see suspending Russia as a huge domestic factor because the people buying Russian will just buy from another import guy,” is what we heard from one large manufacturing company. He continued with, “However the mindset or misunderstanding by buyers in the US might allow the domestic mills an opportunity to stop the current slide.  The global market does not support the current pricing in the states.  Raw materials are down and the US dollar is up which will invite quality imports from Europe and other places in the world.”

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