The downward momentum of US hot rolled coil prices continued, for the second successive month, in September. Amid a seasonal slowdown in activity, domestic mills are being forced to lower prices, in an attempt to secure bookings, for the fourth trimester. Many US buyers report that they are delaying purchases, in anticipation of further price reductions, owing to reduced raw material costs and greater spot availability, in particular from scrap-based producers. A number of planned mill outages, for scheduled maintenance, and a decline in imported volumes, notably from Canada and Turkey, are likely to minimise the extent of further price erosion, in the coming months. Small quantities of Serbian and South African material are being offered in the US market, at competitive prices.
Weakening demand conditions contributed to the modest decline in US cold rolled coil figures, this month. Several US buyers report that local mills are struggling to halt the negative price pressure, amid poor order intake, particularly from the automotive sector. Price deterioration should be minimised, in the coming months, owing to tightening supply, domestically, and from foreign outlets. Offshore volumes, into the US, declined by 31.7 percent, in July, year-on-year. MEPS’ research suggests a sharp decline in Canadian and Mexican imports, due to ongoing trade legislation.
US hot rolled plate values increased slightly during the past four weeks. Strong activity from a range of plate-consuming sectors contributed to the modest price rise. Many US steel market participants note that domestic plate selling values are bucking the trend of their strip products counterparts. This is due to significant supply-side shortfalls – with mill availability extremely restricted. It is reported that the majority of US plate customers remain on allocated supply tonnages. A decrease in competitively priced imports, notably from Canada, has given the US mills the opportunity to retain their, already elevated, price levels with little resistance from buyers. Local producers will be confident of maintaining the status quo, in the coming months, due to firm demand projections for the remainder of the year and tight supply created by mill outages.