Steel Blog

ArcelorMittal Raises Flat Rolled Base Prices

Wednesday, October 18, 2017 1:15 PM Written by

ArcelorMittal USA began advising their customers late on Tuesday (October 17, 2017) of their intention to raise flat rolled steel base prices. In an internal memo sent to the ArcelorMittal commercial team the mill advised, “All new opportunities for hot rolled, cold rolled and coated sheet products that require delivery in the 4th Quarter of 2017 should be specifically inquired for production availability before any formal or verbal acceptance of an order takes place.”

The mill then went on and advised that the following “minimum” base prices on sheet products are to be in effect “immediately”:

Prior to the ArcelorMittal USA price increase announcement, Steel Market Update analysis of steel prices found flat rolled steel prices continuing their slow slog south (prices are moving lower). The pace has not accelerated, but there are questions as to whether some of the steel mills are cutting "quiet" deals in order to fill their fourth-quarter order book without giving the steel away.

One service center put it to us this way: "If you have index contracts, those prices aren’t that attractive, so my guess is some cheaper pricing must be out there to motivate anyone wanting to buy big volume right now. My guess is in the next two weeks there will be a lot of 'quiet deals' being done on volume to get December books full. For those who have learned that they can live comfortably with 2 months of inventory, even a so-called 'deal' right now isn’t that attractive, considering we could be entering a phase of lower input cost for an extended period."

We will have to wait and see if the ArcelorMittal price increase announcement has any impact on lead times or price negotiations with steel buyers. Steel Market Update is keeping our SMU Price Momentum Indicator as pointing toward lower prices over the short term. We will adjust the indicator to neutral as soon as another steel mill follows the ArcelorMittal lead. AM USA has done something interesting with their increase as they have identified the "minimum" base prices for hot rolled ($625 per ton), cold rolled ($825 per ton) and hot-dipped galvanized ($825 per ton). You can compare those base prices against what we are publishing for flat rolled steel prices for this week.

One of the questions we get regularly is what are steel buyers and sellers of steel saying about their business (demand) and inventory levels? Over this past week, Steel Market Update spoke with quite a few companies and asked them how they were seeing business and if their company was building flat rolled or steel plate inventories. A number believe flat rolled steel prices will return to their normal seasonal swoon in early fourth quarter, only to rebound when steel mill lead times reach into the New Year.

New Product Manager at CENTRIA

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 4:09 PM Written by

CENTRIA, a manufacturer of architectural metal wall and roof systems based in Pittsburgh, announced the addition of Stephan Ploszay to the CENTRIA team as Product Manager, Rainscreen Systems.

AK Adds Electrode Surcharge on Stainless

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 3:24 PM Written by
Published in AK Steel

In response to the recent hike in the cost of graphite electrodes, AK Steel Holding Corp. will implement an electrode surcharge for all stainless product shipments effective Oct 29. The surcharge for November will be $13.20 per ton. The amount will be same for all stainless grades produced by the company. The monthly electrode surcharge amount will be listed in the company's monthly surcharge publication.

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AM/NS Suffers Minor Tornado Damage

Monday, October 09, 2017 2:04 PM Written by
Published in AM/NS Calvert

ArcelorMittal reports that a portion of its mill in Calvert, Ala., suffered minor damage over the weekend due to a small, localized tornado related to Hurricane Nate. The company halted production on Friday night for safety reasons, but resumed operations Sunday afternoon.

Construction Unemployment Hits 17-Year Low in September

Friday, October 06, 2017 3:44 PM Written by
Published in Construction

The construction industry added 8,000 jobs in September for its highest level since 2008, but could have hired even more if qualified workers were available, said the Associated General Contractors of America.

Construction unemployment was 4.7 percent in September, its lowest September rate since 2000, said AGC. Average hourly earnings have increased 3 percent from last year to $29.19, nearly 10 percent more than the average nonfarm private sector job in the U.S.

Construction Spending Mixed; Big Drops in Infrastructure

Monday, October 02, 2017 8:43 PM Written by
Published in Construction

The Associated General Contractors of America urged Congress and the Trump administration to include new spending as part of the tax reform proposal to reverse declining infrastructure investment. New investments will offset declining public sector demand and help boost overall economic activity, said AGC.

"It is hard for American employers to be globally competitive when their workers are stuck in traffic and their products are being detoured around crumbling bridges," said AGC CEO Stephen E. Sandherr.

Most major construction spending categories increased from July to August, but activity was mixed compared to spending levels a year earlier, according to an analysis of new government data by the AGC. Association officials noted that big drops in public investments mean infrastructure will continue to deteriorate and impede economic growth.

Big River Steel Repays State Loan Early

Friday, September 29, 2017 3:21 PM Written by
Published in Big River Steel

Big River Steel presented a check for $50 million to Arkansas Governer Asa Hutchinson for full repayment of a loan from the State of Arkansas—and did it 17 years early.

Most Consumers Still Confident Despite Storms

Wednesday, September 27, 2017 8:14 PM Written by
Published in Economy

Consumer confidence took a hit in the storm-affected regions of the South, but overall remains at high levels, which is positive news for the U.S. economy.

“Consumer confidence decreased slightly in September after a marginal improvement in August,” said Lynn Franco, director of economic indicators at The Conference Board, an independent business research association based in New York. “Confidence in Texas and Florida, however, decreased considerably, as these two states were the most severely impacted by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma. Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue expanding at its current pace.”

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