Hot-rolled prices continue to log gains

May 02, 2014 | 12:39 PM | Michael Cowden

Tags  hot-rolled band, cold-rolled sheet, U.S. Steel, Great Lakes Works, Essar Steel Algoma, steel imports, steel prices, Michael Cowden

PITTSBURGH — Hot band prices jumped again this past week, although market participants increasingly questioned the sustainability of the trend at the same time that cold-rolled tags appeared to tread water under import pressure.

AMM’s hot-rolled coil price increased to $34.50 per hundredweight ($690 per ton) from $34.25 per cwt ($685 per ton) previously, while cold-rolled held steady at $40.75 per cwt ($815 per ton).

Hot band prices have moved upward as production problems at integrated mills in the Midwest have kept supplies tight in the face of improving spring demand, and as available capacity is devoted to automotive customers rather than the spot market.

While some market participants noted that automotive production lines could face slowdowns—albeit not shutdowns—because of steel shortages, others said they expected supply issues to ease in the coming weeks as integrated mills in the Midwest resume normal output. That means the market is poised to test how strong pent-up demand might be from the first quarter, when cold weather slowed activity, they said.....

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