Steel Products Prices North America

Market Anticipates Price Hike on Plate

Written by Tim Triplett

Flat rolled mills raised prices by another $40 per ton this week and the plate mills are expected to follow suit soon, possibly yet this week. “Lead times have jumped out to February-March-April. Scrap is up $20-30. The mills will certainly go for plate increase number four since November,” said one Steel Market Update source.

After a disastrous 2019 in which the price of plate dipped to nearly $400 a ton ($20.00/cwt), the current spot price for plate is $34-35/cwt delivered ($680-$700 per ton), report various sources. “The plate market has gotten off to a good pace in 2020 and promises to have a great first quarter if this keeps up,” said one distributor.

First-quarter 2020 is shaping up for a turnaround in plate, agreed another service center exec. “In the spot market, no one will touch an order under 34. It has been a buyers’ market for over a year, but not anymore.”

The mills have begun to hold the line on prices, with little competition from imports. “Foreign plate offers are few and far between and not attractive whatsoever,” said one exec.

Lead times are extended at nearly all the plate mills as they work to fill orders for OEMs, line pipe producers and service centers. “Service center plate inventories are at the lowest level we’ve seen in a long time,” noted one source, but concerns about the economy and political strife in an election year may slow the pace of restocking as some buyers are still hesitant to commit. “But the plate market is trending upward, no doubt.”

Latest in Steel Products Prices North America