Steel Mills

SSAB Surprises Market with Second Price Hike This Week

Written by Michael Cowden

SSAB Americas aims to increase plate prices by another $50 per ton ($2.50 per cwt) – just days after lifting tags by $100 per ton.

The latest increase is effective immediately on all non-contract orders, and it means SSAB’s prices are up $150 per ton within a span of only three days.

SSABThe latest increase applies equally to as-rolled mill plate and coil, cut-to-length plate, normalized plate, and quenched-and-tempered plate, the steelmaker said in letters to customers dated Wednesday, June 23.

Some market participants initially expressed doubt that SSAB was indeed announcing two hefty price hikes in such a short span of time. The company’s letter, once circulated, left little room for doubt.

“This increase is in addition to the price announcement dated June 21, 2021,” SSAB said.

The steelmaker on Monday announced a price increase of $100 per ton for U.S. customers and a price hike of $125 per ton CAD for customers in Canada. The second price hike is $60 per ton CAD – meaning Canadian buyers are seeing a total increase of $185 CAD per ton.

Plate producers have been trying to close an unprecedented gap with coil prices. Coil, which typically sells for less than plate, now carries a triple-digit premium to it.

There is some expectation that the coil-plate spread could narrow as plate-intensive markets such as energy improve and as demand for consumer goods, which drove coil’s rapid rise, moderate.

SMU’s benchmark plate price stands at at $1,495 per ton ($71 per cwt) as of Tuesday, June 22, up nearly 71% from $875 per ton at the beginning of the year and more than double $590 per ton in August 2020, when both sheet and coil prices bottomed out.

Coil has to date risen even faster. SMU’s average hot-rolled coil price was at $1,760 per ton ($86 per cwt) as of Tuesday, up about 79% from $985 per ton at the beginning of the year and quadruple an August 2020 low of $440 per ton.

Coil was below plate when prices for both bottomed out last August. Coil had inched $15 per ton above plate by early October – and that gap has since widened to $265 per ton, according to SMU prices.

Some industry sources peg the spread at as much as $300-350 per ton.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

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