Hot-rolled coil prices in the United States resumed their historic climb on Monday January 11 after inching lower on Friday January 8.
Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index was calculated at $54.49 per hundredweight ($1,089.80 per short ton) on Monday, up by 4.57% from $52.11 per cwt on Friday and 5.38% higher than $51.71 per cwt one week earlier.
Inputs were received in a wide range of $52-60 per cwt across all three sub-indices - including producers, distributors and consumers - representing assessments of current spot pricing levels, mill offers and confirmed transactions.
An input at the higher end of that range was discarded by the assessor because it was unconfirmed by other sources. Non-transactional inputs were carried over from the distributor and consumer sub-indices at the assessor’s discretion.
Heard in the market
After a dip in Friday’s index, hot-rolled coil prices in the United States have continued climbing and now stand at their highest since early June 2008.
Surging prices in the domestic ferrous scrap trade, the dearth of spot material and limited import options mean US mills are seeing little resistance to sharply rising finished steel prices.
Most mill lead times are well into March and April, Fastmarkets understands, and welded tube mills – which use hot-rolled coil as substrate – are eating into available tons, sources said. At the same time, capacity additions, such as from Big River Steel’s Phase 2 expansion, have yet to bring relief to a spot market in desperate need of material.
Most sources expect the current bull market to continue well into the spring.
Quotes of the day
“Usually everything is synchronized and everyone opens their book at the same time, but it’s all run amok right now,” a hot-rolled consumer said.
“The [scrap suppliers] have a captive customer right now,” that consumer said, referring to this month’s scrap trade. This, in turn, means that steel mills are “going to try and get as much as they can” from buyers.
“Demand is not an issue,” a mill source said. “Customers [are] willing to pay for the steel.”