International Steel Prices

US and offshore HRC prices now even

Written by David Schollaert

US hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fell further this past week, bringing them even with offshore hot band prices on a landed basis.

This week, domestic HR coil tags were $710 per short ton (st) on average, down $20/st vs. last week based on SMU’s latest check of the market on Tuesday, June 11.

Domestic HR coil prices are now 0.4% cheaper than imports. The premium is down from 1.3% last week and a 10-week high of 15.2% just two months back.

In dollar-per-ton terms, US HR coil is now, on average, $3/st cheaper than offshore product (Figure 1). That’s down $13/st on average from last week. The premium has swung negative for the first time in more than eight months.

The charts below compare HR prices in the US, Germany, Italy, and Asia. The left-hand side highlights prices over the last two years, while the right-hand side zooms in to show more recent trends.


This is how SMU calculates the theoretical spread between domestic HR coil prices (FOB domestic mills) and foreign HR coil prices (delivered to US ports): We compare SMU’s US HR coil weekly index to the CRU HR coil weekly indices for Germany, Italy, and East and Southeast Asian ports. This is only a theoretical calculation. Import costs can vary greatly, influencing the true market spread.

We add $90/st to all foreign prices as a rough means of accounting for freight costs, handling, and trader margin. This gives us an approximate CIF US ports price to compare to the SMU domestic HR coil price. Buyers should use our $90/st figure as a benchmark and adjust up or down based on their own shipping and handling costs. If you import steel and want to share your thoughts on these costs, please get in touch with the author at

Asian HRC (East and Southeast Asian ports)

As of Thursday, June 13, the CRU Asian HRC price was $499/st, unchanged from the week prior. Adding a 25% tariff and $90/st in estimated import costs, the delivered price of Asian HRC to the US is approximately $714/st. The latest SMU hot rolled average for domestic material is $710/st.

The result: US-produced HRC is theoretically $4/st cheaper than steel imported from Asia. The spread is down $20/st vs. last week, now down $285/st from its seven-month high of $281/st in late December.

Italian HRC

Italian HR coil prices were down $10/st to roughly $625/st this week. After adding import costs, the delivered price of Italian HR coil is in theory $715/st.

That means domestic HR coil is theoretically just about $5/st cheaper HR coil imported from Italy. The spread is down $10/st from last week. The domestic hot band price premium over offshore product from Italy is now down nearly $302/st from a recent high of $297/st just five months ago.

German HRC

CRU’s German HR coil price dropped $12/st from the week before to $620/st. After adding import costs, the delivered price of German HR coil is in theory $710/st.

The result: Domestic HR coil is theoretically even with HR coil imported from Germany. The spread is down 8/st w/w and $265/st away from 2023’s widest spread of $265/st.

Notes: Freight is important in deciding whether to import foreign steel or buy from a domestic mill. Domestic prices are referenced as FOB the producing mill, while foreign prices are CIF the port (Houston, NOLA, Savannah, Los Angeles, Camden, etc.). Inland freight, from either a domestic mill or from the port, can dramatically impact the competitiveness of both domestic and foreign steel. It’s also important to factor in lead times. In most markets, domestic steel will deliver more quickly than foreign steel.

Effective Jan. 1, 2022, Section 232 tariffs no longer apply to most imports from the European Union. It has been replaced by a tariff rate quota (TRQ). Therefore, the German and Italian price comparisons in this analysis no longer include a 25% tariff. SMU still includes the 25% Section 232 tariff on prices from other countries. We do not include any antidumping (AD) or countervailing duties (CVD) in this analysis.

David Schollaert

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