Final Thoughts

Cliffs Raises Sheet Prices Another $50/ton, Targets $850/ton HRC

Written by Michael Cowden


Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. aims to increase spot prices for steel sheet by at least another $50 per ton ($2.50 per cwt).

The Cleveland-based steelmaker said the move was effective immediately and applied equally to hot-rolled, cold-rolled, and coated products.

Cliffs logo2.2The company said it also set a minimum base price of $850 per ton for hot-rolled coil, according to a press release dated Thursday, Feb. 2.

The move comes little more than two weeks after Cliffs announced a prior round of $50/ton sheet price hikes and a target base of $800 per ton for HRC.

Cliffs has now announced four price increases totaling $210 per ton since late November.

SMU’s hot-rolled coil price stands at $780 per ton, up about 12% ($85 per ton) from early January, and up nearly 27% ($165) per ton before Thanksgiving, according to our interactive pricing tool.

Recall that hot-rolled coil prices hit a 2022 low of $615 per ton shortly before the holiday. They have been rising steadily since Cliffs announced an initial round of price hikes the week after Thanksgiving.

By Michael Cowden, michael@steelmarketupdate.com

Michael Cowden

Read more from Michael Cowden

Latest in Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

I’ve had discussions with some of you lately about where and when sheet prices might bottom. Some of you say that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices won’t fall below $800 per short ton (st). Others tell me that bigger buyers aren’t interested unless they can get something that starts with a six. Obviously a lot depends on whether we're talking 50 tons or 50,000 tons. I've even gotten some guff about how the drop in US prices is happening only because we’re talking about it happening.

Final thoughts

We’ve all heard a lot about mill “discipline” following a wave of consolidation over the last few years. That discipline is often evident when prices are rising, less so when they are falling. I remember hearing earlier this year that mills weren’t going to let hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fall below $1,000 per short ton (st). Then not below $900/st. Now, some of you tell me that HR prices in the mid/high-$800s are the “1-800 price” – widely available to regular spot buyers. So what comes next, and will mills “hold the line” in the $800s?