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Sheet market firms on supply-driven demand

Keywords: Tags  steel, steel sheet, flat-rolled market, prices, steel supply, steel demand, ferrous scrap, OCTG trade case

NEW YORK – The steel sheet market continued to firm this past week on the back of supply-driven increases and steady demand, sources said.

While the first week of July is typically quieter due to the Independence Day Holiday, sources contacted by AMM said that the tightness in the hot-rolled market would continue for weeks–and even months–to come.

"The market on the sales (demand) side is pretty flat, but all the changes are on the supply side," said one mill source. "The mills are in a strong position right now, and the way I see it, it’ll probably last through October or November. This thing is supply driven because supply is tight."

Sources pegged hot-rolled band this week at $32 per hundredweight ($640 per ton), up from $31.50 per cwt ($630 per ton) the previous week. Others added that mills were pushing smaller tonnages at $32.50 per cwt ($650 per ton), which would match the most recent published prices by a majority of mills (, June 26).

Despite the abbreviated holiday schedule, several events transpired this week that will likely keep momentum high in the sheet market. Chicago and Detroit scrap prices settled up (, July 3) and a long-awaited trade petition was filed by U.S. producers against imports of oil country tubular goods (, July 3).

"Things this week were okay. There was a bit of a drag because of the holiday," said one Midwest service center. "But, most of the mills have lead times into August, and scrap looks on the upside."

Others added that with steady demand and mills holding firm to higher pricing, the sheet market looks stronger ahead.

"Automotive is good and appliances are doing okay," one trader said. "There’s demand. Is it a boom? Obviously no. There are naysayers, who believe this thing will be over in 3 weeks. But, right now, mills aren’t collapsing prices and they’re getting orders at their prices. Things are starting to look interesting."

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