Steel Prices

Nucor cuts plate prices by $90/t, cites cheaper competition

Written by David Schollaert

Nucor Corp. announced that its plate mill group would cut prices for as-rolled, discrete, and normalized plate with the opening of its June order book.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker said in a letter to customers on Monday, April 29, that tags would be lowered by $90 per short ton (st). That would bring its base price to roughly $1,200/st.

The company said the move was necessary because of cheaper import and domestic competition.

“Recently we have seen a large influx of imported steel plate that is being bought and sold at levels significantly below US domestic prices,” the letter said.

Nucor said the decrease was effective immediately. But there is an exception: prices for quenched-and-tempered products would “remain unchanged,” Nucor said.

The cut on Monday marks Nucor’s third plate price decrease of 2024. The company is now down $230/st on plate since Jan. 30.

Despite the price cut, Nucor said it remains “optimistic” about demand.

Market reaction

The move caught many by surprise on Monday morning. The consensus had been that the steelmaker would keep plate prices flat.

Some worried that the cut might slow buying as customers move to the sidelines in anticipation of additional price decreases.

“This was a bit surprising. I didn’t realize there was so much import coming in that Nucor would reduce pricing $90/ton,” said a service center executive. “As they say, we live and learn.”

“The steel market has been eerily stable for the last four plus weeks,” said a manufacturing executive. “Stability is good for our business. But I expect further price erosions during the summer doldrums because the economic indicators aren’t pointing toward growth for most categories.” 

A third source said he didn’t see the logic of slashing prices for steel melted and poured in the US. “We have 450 customers,” the source said. “None buy import. Can’t and won’t. So this makes no sense to us.”

To keep track of the latest mill price increases and decreases, visit SMU’s price increase calendar.

David Schollaert

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