Mills are hoping to boost flat rolled prices by an additional $50-60 per net ton as the economy and steel demand continue to improve, iron ore and scrap prices rise and mill outages tighten supplies. On Monday, U.S. Steel and sister company USS-POSCO Industries (UPI) informed customers they have raised spot prices for hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized products by a minimum of $60 per ton, effective immediately.
This is the fifth increase on flat rolled announced by the two mills since May—increases of $60 per ton on May 1, $40 on May 21, $40 on July 21, $40 on Aug. 26 and $60 this week—for a total of $240 per ton.
On Tuesday, Algoma Steel followed suit, notifying its U.S. flat rolled customers of a $50 increase in its hot rolled and cold rolled spot pricing.
This week’s check of the market by Steel Market Update puts the current average price for hot rolled steel at $580 per ton, back to the level where it was in early March before the COVID pandemic. That’s up about $140 from the low of $440 per ton reported by SMU in the second week of August.
Buyers tell SMU the mills are seeking to collect a minimum of $600 per ton for HR, and the EAF mills are asking for higher prices without any official notice.
Commented one SMU source: “The recent price announcement has lots of traction; inventories got too low and buyers got flat footed. It will stick. There is no negotiation on HR and galvanized right now, with $30/cwt firm for HR and $40/cwt firm for galv.”
There has been no new announcement from market leader Nucor, at least so far. “Nucor not leading the way is a business shift to a model like Big River. Quietly raising prices with no announcement is a double-edged sword. It may be a good psychological move; however, service centers will have a hard time raising prices if the end users don’t see increases.”
Tim TriplettRead more from Tim Triplett
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