Steel Products Prices North America

Nucor cuts plate prices by $125/ton, cites ongoing 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 August order book.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based steelmaker said in a letter to customers on Monday, July 1, that tags would be lowered by $125 per short ton (st). That would bring its base price to roughly $1,075/st.

The company suggested the price cut was to stay competitive, adding that it would track market dynamics and adjust pricing as necessary.

“We will continue to monitor the levels of import arrivals and other market activity to ensure our pricing remains competitive in the market,” the letter said.

Nucor said the decrease was effective immediately. But there is an exception: prices for quenched-and-tempered products would “not change from our previous pricing letter,” Nucor said.

The cut on Monday marks Nucor’s fourth plate price decrease of 2024. The company is now down $355/st on plate since Jan. 30.

Market reaction

The move was expected by most in the market. The consensus was for a significant cut – at least down $100/st – but there was a minority who didn’t foresee the steelmaker bringing prices down at such a sharp clip.

While some suggest Nucor’s new base price is what is already being transacted on the spot market, others wonder if it will slow the market even more, especially given that most expect discounts to remain in effect on all buys.

“I was way off on my prediction,” said a service center executive. “The plate industry in total is in bigger trouble than we thought, and now we’re seeing the impact. This move will really put a damper on an already weak market.”

“Comparing to today’s CSP HRC base of $670, the spread between plate and hot-rolled coil is a healthy $405/ton,” said a manufacturing executive. “We expect plate prices to continue to fall in the upcoming months unless demand increases again in the near future.”

A third source said he expected the aggressive slashing of prices. “It doesn’t surprise me.  Now we’ll see where this takes us.”

Regardless, sources agreed that prices should move lower in the interim due to weak demand. “Until the uncertainty in the market is clearer, we can expect even more volatility.”

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

David Schollaert

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