Steel Blog

The U.S. Department of Commerce (DOC) provided license data through Oct. 17 (today) regarding the amount of foreign steel slated to come into the United States during the month of October. Based on the license data, the trend is for yet another 3 million net ton (or higher) month.

There are some significant changes to the numbers that should be viewed carefully. The trend on semi-finished steels (mostly slabs) is for close to 800,000 net tons. This would be up 200,000 tons compared to the previous month. The three-month moving average (3MMA) is 804,000 net tons, so the data is staying consistent. Oil country tubular goods continue to surge with the trend now for 324,000 net tons, which is within the 3MMA for the product and well above the 12-month moving average. Larger imports of OCTG hurts sales of domestic hot rolled coil.



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The pace of the slide affecting flat rolled and plate steel prices quickened this past week. Steel Market Update (SMU) analyzed the price movements reported by Platts, SteelBenchmarker and SMU and found that almost every product was lower by the end of the week than it was the previous week.



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Hot Rolled Futures: Modest Retreat

Thursday, 12 October 2017 10:58

The following article on the hot rolled coil (HRC) steel and financial futures markets was written by Jack Marshall of Crunch Risk LLC. Here is how Jack saw trading over the past week:



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License Data Indicates Stubborn Import Market

Thursday, 12 October 2017 14:53

The expectation has been for a huge swing lower in the amount of flat rolled foreign steel imports coming into the United States in October. The industry is waiting for the combination of the drying up of the surge of orders placed to “beat” any Section 232 duty and the impact of higher world steel prices, which has made foreign steel less competitive in the U.S.

One of the items that was anticipated was that the Section 232 review on steel recommendations would be provided to President Trump by Department of Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross at the end of June, and then the announcement on any duties/quotas would be made potentially as early as July 2017. As we all know, the recommendations from Ross and any presidential decision have been put off until after tax reform has been passed by the U.S. Congress.

So, what has been happening with foreign steel imports over the past two years? The data is quite telling.



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Demand for Steel Sheet Continues to Expand

Sunday, 15 October 2017 14:17

Demand for steel sheet products continued to expand through August. This report summarizes total steel supply by product from 2003 through August 2017 and year-on-year changes. It then compares domestic mill shipments with total supply to the market. It quantifies market direction by product and enables a side-by-side comparison of the degree to which imports have absorbed demand. Sources are the American Iron and Steel Institute and the Department of Commerce with analysis by Steel Market Update.

Apparent supply is a proxy for market demand. Demand momentum for sheet products in total was positive in three months through August, but individual products varied. Cold rolled, HDG and electrogalvanized were positive. Hot rolled was slightly negative and other metallic coated (mainly Galvalume), which continued to have very strong growth, slowed.



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SMU Adjusts Lower End of Hot Rolled Pricing

Sunday, 08 October 2017 15:29

On Tuesday of this past week, Steel Market Update (SMU) advised our readers that our range on hot rolled pricing was $580-$630 per ton with an average of $605 per ton ($30.25/cwt). As the week progressed, we received more information that has caused us to drop the lower end of our range to $560 per ton ($28.00/cwt) and our average is now $595 per ton ($29.75/cwt) based on our new range being $560 to $630 per ton.



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Comparison Price Indices: Mixed

Sunday, 08 October 2017 12:31

Steel Market Update (SMU) found steel prices mixed this past week on not only our own index, but also that of Platts. In the past, we have seen this when there is limited buying due to a slowdown in business or in relationship to an expansion of inventories.



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HRC Futures Finding Support...BUY THEM DIPS!!!

Thursday, 05 October 2017 18:02

The following article on the hot rolled coil (HRC) futures markets was written by David Feldstein. As the Flack Global Metals Director of Risk Management, Dave is an active participant in the hot rolled futures market, and we believe he provides insightful commentary and trading ideas to our readers. Besides writing futures articles for Steel Market Update, Dave produces articles that our readers may find interesting under the heading "The Feldstein" on the Flack Global Metals website, www.FlackGlobalMetals.com. Note that Steel Market Update does not take any positions on HRC or scrap trading and any recommendations made by David Feldstein are his opinions and not those of SMU. We recommend that anyone interested in trading HRC or scrap futures enlist the help of a licensed broker or bank.



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Flat Roll Lead Times Inch Down

Thursday, 05 October 2017 17:46

Flat rolled steel lead times have shortened up slightly since mid-September, according to the service centers and manufacturers who responded to Steel Market Update’s market trends questionnaire this week. Lead time, which is the amount of time it takes for the domestic steel mills to produce a new order from the time the order was placed, is a rough indicator of the demand trend. The longer the lead time, the busier the mill and the stronger the demand. On average, flat rolled lead times are now less than four weeks for hot rolled, right at six weeks for cold rolled, a bit longer than six weeks for galvanized and a bit under six weeks for Galvalume.



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Flat rolled steel prices slipped across the board this past week. All three steel indexes followed by Steel Market Update (SMU) saw prices as being down from as little as $1 per ton to as much as $20 per ton.



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