US Coil Prices Soften, Plate Values Steady

US strip mill product prices fell, in the past four weeks, according to MEPS. Hot rolled coil is readily available, from both local and offshore suppliers. Domestic delivery lead times are between two and four weeks. A number of US steel buyers remark that local producers and several Canadian steelmakers continue to offer material at slightly reduced price levels, in an attempt to secure orders.

Cold rolled coil buyers were successful in securing discounted deals from domestic mills – after achieving price reductions on hot band material. Many US producers lowered prices, in an attempt to secure orders, amid stronger foreign competition. Small pockets of material from Russia, Egypt, Canada, Mexico, South Africa, Malaysia and Thailand are available in the domestic market.

Demand from the automotive sector has slowed down, albeit from record levels. Local hot dipped galvanised producers are willing to offer reduced prices, in an attempt to secure orders. Delivery lead times are between five and seven weeks. A shortage of competitively-priced offshore options persists.

The upward trajectory of US hot rolled plate prices stalled, as local values were unchanged, this month. However, the domestic mills could announce a list price hike, in the near term. Healthy demand from the construction and energy sectors and tight supply conditions could assist mill attempts to solidify previous price gains. Domestic delivery lead times are projected to extend, in the third trimester, as several US plate producers plan maintenance outages. Availability of offshore hot rolled plate remains limited as a result of trade cases.

Source: MEPS International Steel Review – May 2017 Edition