Steel Mills

CSI Takes Longer to Close January Flat Rolled Order Book

Written by Michael Cowden

California Steel Industries (CSI) has closed its January order book for flat-rolled steel – but doing so took significantly longer than in past months.

“We will contact you when we open the flat rolled order book for February 2022,” the Fontana, Calif.-based slab converted said in a letter to customers on Monday, Dec. 13.


The company also noted that its offices would be closed on Dec. 24 and 27 for Christmas as well as on Jan. 3 for New Year’s Day.

It took CSI longer to close January than prior months. The company had opened its January flat rolled order book on Nov. 16, 2021 – meaning it took nearly a month to fill it.

The company’s October order book, in contrast, was opened and closed in just a week in late July. It was a similar story in early July, when CSI closed its order book for September in just a week.

The difference: Steel prices were still rising in July. They have been falling since early September when hot-rolled coil hit a 2021 high of $1,955 per ton ($97.75 per cwt), according to SMU’s interactive pricing tool.

And even over the summer, the magnitude of price increases slowed. Case in point: CSI opened September in late June and increased prices a whopping $200 per ton. October, opened in mid-July, was up a comparatively modest $80 per ton.

That trend reversed in recent months, with CSI’s pricing for January dropping by triple digits compared to December levels, sources said.

CSI, approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles, makes hot-rolled, pickled-and-oiled, cold-rolled and galvanized products as well as welded pipe.

An important supplier to the West Coast, CSI has long been a 50-50 joint venture between Brazilian iron ore miner Vale and Japanese steelmaker JFE.

That will change next year. Nucor will become the majority shareholder in CSI after it acquires Vale’s 50% stake in the company for $400 million and 1% of JFE’s share.

The deal, which will leave Nucor with a 51% stake, is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022.

The transaction was announced on Monday. SMU reported last week that a deal was imminent.

By Michael Cowden,

Michael Cowden

Read more from Michael Cowden

Latest in Steel Mills