Steel Products Prices North America

Galvanized Price Premium Over Hot Rolled Nears One-Year Low

Written by Brett Linton

The spread between hot-rolled and galvanized coil base prices continues to ease, now standing at the lowest level seen in almost one year.

The relationship between hot rolled and galvanized prices has been volatile since late 2021. In the last year, galvanized has sold at a premium of as little as $250 per ton ($12.50 per cwt) over hot rolled to as high as $545 per ton ($22.25 per cwt). The premium reached a record high in February, quickly narrowed in March, rebounded over the summer months, and has since declined.

SMU’s HRC price averaged $685 per ton ($34.25 per cwt) on Tuesday of this week, the lowest level seen in over two years. Recall our index reached a record-high just over one year ago, peaking at $1,955 per ton in Sept. 2021. Our latest galvanized price index averaged $935 per ton ($46.75 per cwt) this week, having declined 26 of the past 28 weeks. Galvanized prices are now down to levels last seen in Nov. 2020, having peaked at $2,185 per ton last September.

As shown in the graph below, galvanized held a premium between $80–220 per ton over hot rolled for the last few years, exceeding that range in late 2021. The premium rapidly rose to a peak of $545 per ton in mid-February, falling almost as quickly thereafter to reach a low of $300 per ton on March 22. After bouncing back up to the high $400s over the summer months, the premium has been declining since. The premium this week is $250 per ton, a 49-week low. The average premium in October was $290 per ton, down from $323 per ton in September and down from $355 per ton in August. November 2021 averaged $253 per ton, while November 2020 averaged $180.

To better compare these two products, we calculated the galvanized price premium over hot rolled as a percentage of the hot rolled price, as shown in the graphic below. This is an attempt to paint a clearer comparison against historical pricing data. The percentage premium is not as alarming compared to the dollar value premium, but it is still significantly higher compared to previous years. Galvanized prices held an average premium of 24% above hot rolled prices from 2017 through the end of 2021. In 2021, the premium averaged just 13%, while the first ten months of 2022 now average 38%. The premium reached a record high of 52% in July 2022. The latest premium has eased to 36%, but remains historically high. The average premium in October was 39%, down from 41% in September and 45% in August.

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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