US hot rolled coil delivery lead times remain at four to six weeks, according to MEPS. Demand is moderate to good, with the exception of the construction sector which is slow to recover. Domestic production levels are high. Transaction figures were steady in August but weakened recently, partly due to the availability of cheaper imports.
Hot rolled plate makers have recently announced another hike. This has been badly received by the consuming industries. Customers feel that, although the market is relatively good, high inventories at the service centres and the onset of winter do not support a rise. Delivery lead times are down to eight/ten weeks. Conditions are expected to remain strong into November. The biggest concern for steelmakers is whether the influx of offshore material will upset the balance between supply and demand.
The threat of anti-dumping law suites are keeping many potential buyers from importing cold rolled coil. Consumption, particularly by the auto sector, remains good.
Coated coil transaction figures were unchanged in August, but, more recently, imports have created downward pressure. However, buyers are cautious in regards to ordering overseas material because of the threat of anti-dumping suits.
Producers briefly lifted prices, for wire rod, in August but the move was short-lived. Current figures are similar to those in July. Demand from the construction sector is steady but many customers have sufficient stocks of Chinese and Turkish material at present. Order intake at the domestic mills is slow.
Wide flange beam prices remain flat. There has been no push from scrap costs and demand is somewhat subdued as service centres are looking to reduce inventories before the year-end.
Demand for rebar is healthy, with good order intake at the domestic mills. Turkish material has become a little more expensive. The US government has decided not to impose dumping duties on rebar imports from that country.
Merchant bar transaction figures have weakened marginally compared with July/August. The market is not strong enough to support a rise. Turkish suppliers are offering angles at a slightly higher price than in July.