This was facilitated by a limited supply and an increase in order fulfillment times

In the current week, prices for HRC in the USA have increased. Producers were able to achieve this thanks to limited supply, increased lead times and interest from buyers, informs Argus.Media.

HRC prices in the Midwest and Southern United States are up $50 per short ton from last week to $800 ex-works, and up $140 from September lows, Argus estimates. However, they still remain lower than the April peak of $1,200 per short ton.

On October 19, the steel companies Nucor and Cleveland-Cliffs raised their minimum prices for HRC to $800 per short ton. This was the first increase since mid-September. The Canadian ArcelorMittal Dofasco plant raised prices to $803/t.

The increase in prices supports the increase in delivery times from factories – from 6.9 to 8 weeks, they are approaching mid-December. As the service centers noted, this affected a certain number of customers. The latter are currently looking for material, but some mills have reported that they will not provide them with quotations until the end of the year.

Mills are confident that they will be able to fill their hot-rolled coil order portfolios by the end of the year and raise prices due to limited supply. Buyers have questions about whether the factories will have “windows” in December 2023, depending on the volume of contracts. In addition, renovations, which reduced production in September and October, must be completed.

The ongoing strike by the United Auto Workers (UAW) union against Ford, General Motors (GM) and Stellantis, which has expanded to the larger automakers’ plants, has not yet had a significant impact on steel demand.

As for the import of hot-rolled coil, the delivery time from South Korea is at the end of January-February 2024, which does not suit many buyers. At the same time, supplies from Brazil are limited under the tariff quota program. However, it is precisely from these countries that offers at higher prices are received.

According to a Steel Market Update survey published last week, the majority of respondents expressed the view that flat prices bottomed out in October and should recover. Columnist Michael Cowden wrote about it in the colums for The Fabricator. He also noted the increase in terms of deliveries from the factories continue to increase.

In addition, Cowden noted, Cleveland-Cliffs’ late-September flat rate hike received much greater response from service centers than the previous round in June-July.

As GMK Center reported earlier, at the beginning of October, prices for hot-rolled coils in the USA have grown for the first time since July 2023. The country’s metallurgists recorded an increase in demand after Cleveland-Cliffs announced plans to raise rental prices despite a strike by auto industry workers.