US HRC: Mill offers fall amid short lead times

  • Market: Metals
  • 15/02/22

US hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices continued their decline this week as mills offered steel at lower prices and lead times remain short.

The Argus weekly domestic US HRC Midwest and southern assessments both dropped by $113.25/short ton to $1,029.25/st, the lowest since early January 2021.

HRC import prices into Houston jumped by $180/st to $1,100/st ddp on higher global pricing levels and limited overall imports. It uis the first time that import pricing has breached above domestic US pricing Since October 2020, and the largest premium ever in Argus' price history.

As the domestic to international spread has narrowed HRC imports have become unfeasible for many buyers.

HRC lead times in the Midwest were flat at 2-3 weeks, with steelmakers said to deliver in as short as two weeks and, depending on rolling schedules, potentially quicker than that.

Mill offers were heard below $1,000/st, with larger orders of 2,000st or more said to be achievable in the $900/st range.

Service centers continued to work down inventories. One buyer said it will take them 2-3 months to get down to their ideal inventory levels, while others are starting to slowly return to the market.

In the latest attempt to cut domestic steel supply, integrated steelmaker Cleveland-Cliffs said it would take a maintenance outage at a blast furnace at its Cleveland mill for more than 100 days for a reline. That could take up to 411,000st of raw steel production out of the market.

The spread between #1 busheling scrap delivered US Midwest mills and HRC selling prices dropped by 23pc to $529/st, the lowest level since late November 2020. A year ago the spread was $810/st.

The Argus weekly domestic US cold-rolled coil (CRC) assessment fell by $65/st to $1,535/st, while the hot-dipped galvanized (HDG) assessment was flat at $1,495/st. Limited inputs included offers below this level while sales were reported a few hundred dollars above.

Lead times for CRC and HDG were flat at 6-7 weeks.

The CME HRC Midwest futures market was up in the last week, the second consecutive week of gains. April pricing rose by $14/st to $985/st, while May futures pricing increased by $24/st to $984/st. June pricing rose by $25/st to $965/st, while July future pricing increased by $35/st to $960/st. August futures pricing stands at $960/st.

Plate

The Argus weekly domestic US ex-works plate assessment was flat at $1,815/st as plate makers held offers. The plate delivered assessment was flat at $1,857.50/st delivered. Lead times shortened to 3-6 weeks from 4-7 weeks.


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