California Steel Industries (CSI) has opened its February order book for flat-rolled steel and decreased prices significantly, according to market participants.
That’s a big change from 2021, when the Fontana, Calif.-based slab converter often increased prices substantially from one month to the next.
“Customers are reminded that prices are subject to change at any time unless a firm price has been previously quoted and confirmed,” the company said in a letter to customers dated Thursday, Dec. 16, and noting that February was open.
CSI does not typically specify in writing whether it has increased or decreased prices in any given month. But market participants said it had decreased February sheet prices by approximately $180 per ton ($9 per cwt).
They also said CSI had decreased prices by roughly $150 per ton with the opening of January books earlier this year – meaning that the company has dropped prices by more than $300 per ton or so in recent weeks.
CSI did not immediately respond to a request for comment for this article.
But those decreases roughly coincide with declines in SMU’s hot-rolled coil price. HRC prices stand at $1,670 per ton, down $285 per ton from a 2021 peak of $1,955 per ton, according to our interactive price tool. And some sources have reported transactions from other mills at or below $1,600 per ton.
Located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles, CSI makes hot-rolled, pickled-and-oiled, cold-rolled and galvanized products as well as welded pipe.
The company is currently a 50-50 joint venture between Japanese steelmaker JFE and Brazilian iron ore miner Vale. It will become a 51-49% JV between Charlotte, N.C.-based Nucor and JFE once a $400 million deal announced earlier this month closes in the first quarter.
Nucor will then be the majority shareholder in CSI.
By Michael Cowden, Michael@SteelMarketUpdate.com
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