Steel Products Prices North America

ArcelorMittal & NLMK USA Price Announcements: Trying to Put a Floor to the Market?

Written by John Packard

Today two mills began advising their customers of their intention to raise flat rolled steel prices. ArcelorMittal USA and NLMK USA both came out with increases. ArcelorMittal provided specific base price “minimums” while NLMK USA advised their customers of a flat $30 per ton increase. If all of the other mills follow, this would be the 6th price increase since early December 2015.

ArcelorMittal USA opened their August order book and provided minimum base price guidance on hot rolled, cold rolled and coated products. In an internal memo to their sales staff leaked to their customers earlier today, AMUSA told their customers steel base prices were moving up by a minimum of $20 per ton and were now:

Hot Rolled = $630 per ton ($31.50/cwt)

Cold Rolled = $830 per ton ($41.50/cwt)

Coated (galvanized/Galvalume) = $830 per ton ($41.50/cwt)

The announcement was less than some market participants expected as the hot rolled number is less than what the indexes have been posting over the past couple of weeks. Some steel buyers thought that the mill was trying to “put a bottom” to the market. “Definitely trying to shore up pricing,” is what one service center told us late this afternoon.

In the case of NLMK USA, which did not reference specific base pricing, our sources understand that their numbers would be above the “minimums” suggested by ArcelorMittal. One large hot rolled buyer told SMU that the $30 per ton put the NLMK number closer to $640 per ton. A second service center advised coated as being a minimum of $43.50/cwt ($870 per ton). However, as with any mill, there can be a wide range of prices available depending on the size of the company, the product being bought, the number of tons and whether there are extras associated with the purchase.

Many buyers believe the market has peaked so it will be interesting to see if 1) a new price increase can be collected at this time and, 2) if the market holds firm at the minimums suggested by ArcelorMittal USA.

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