Mills Continue To Hold Firm On US Flat Steel Prices

28 July 2016

US flat-rolled steel mills continued to hold off any seasonal price malaise Tuesday, which was no small feat sources say.

S&P Global Platts maintained its daily hot-rolled and cold-rolled coil assessments at $610-$630/st and $820-$840/st, respectively. Both prices are normalized to a Midwest (Indiana) ex-works basis.

Despite July remaining slow a service center source believed it was successful month for the mills as they were able to maintain HRC prices above $600/st, while CRC and hot-dipped galvanized steel showed little sign of deterioration. He added it was the first time the market has really seen the impact producer consolidation could have on prices.

Overall, the buyer said he was seeing HRC prices around $610/st from his typical mill suppliers.

A buy-side source said HRC prices were a little lower around $605/st from most mini-mills, but believed July did “bode well” for the mills, as they knew they had to make it through the month.

With mills sustaining prices for the month, “buyers took it as another month to drive down inventories … thinking prices would fall,” he added.

Metals Service Center Institute data show carbon flat-rolled inventories in June were at their lowest level in over two years, the buy-side source said, adding that “people will have to buy” as inquiries pick up.

A second service center said he had not heard market chatter about mills hunting for tons and believed that with no holidays in August things will pick up. “July was the bottom point as far as [steel] usage,” he said, as many end-users took time off during the month.


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