Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have remained broadly steady ahead of the national Thanksgiving holiday, although market participants anticipated further increases given recent mill announcements and supply concerns headed into 2021.
Fastmarkets daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US was calculated at $39 per hundredweight ($780 per short ton) on Wednesday November 25, nearly flat from $39.08 per cwt on Tuesday November 24 and a jump of 6.4% from $36.64 per cwt one week earlier.
Inputs were received in a broad range of $37-42.50 per cwt. The higher end of that range represents new mill offers, while the lower end of the range represents a mill deal and sources’ assessments.
Heard in the market
Lead times for spot tons were thought to be into February and March 2021, according to sources.
Meanwhile, spot market activity has become practically nonexistent, sources said, noting that current tight supply is unable to to meet demand.
Exacerbating the material shortfall are the typical seasonal slowdown, mill outages and uncertainty due to rising Covid-19 infections, sources said, noting that they do not expect HRC imports to arrive until March-April 2021.
And certain domestic steelmakers have raised hot band offer prices up to $42-42.50 per cwt, although those mills have limited - if any - spot availability, Fastmarkets understands.
One distributor said that any additional coil would have to come from blast furnaces, indicating that electric-arc furnace (EAF) steelmakers were unable to meet current demand and citing the lack of imports.
Notably, US Steel has taken some preliminary steps toward a potential restart of the No4 blast furnace at its Gary Works in northwest Indiana, but a timeline for officially firing up the furnace is not certain, according to sources.
Quote of the day
“The spot market is dead, there are no spot tons to buy. As soon as [material] hits the floor, it’s snapped up. It’s a sellers’ market for the next three to four months,” a steel distributor said. “Coil is not possible to get unless you’ve already ordered. Distributors are worried about being able to supply their customers in the first quarter.”
Prices at the high end of the input range - which represent new mill offers - were discarded due to a lack of confirmed deals or any immediate transactions at those levels. No data was collected under data submitter agreements.