Has the US Hit it’s Peak?
US flat rolled mills have increased their prices every month so far this year, but now there are talks that demand may be faltering, and there is more hot rolled coil (HRC) availability.
Has the market finally reached its peak?
The flat rolled market has seen a wave of increases since the beginning of this year. Domestic mills have continually upped their prices to keep up with rising raw material costs and strong demand. But now it seems the market may be leveling off. Either that or perhaps a seasonal slowdown is occurring.
All of the major domestic mills made their July price announcements a couple of weeks ago, and to customers
surprise, the increase wasn’t as hefty as some expected. Whereas a couple months ago, increases were in the three-digits, the most recent one was modest comparatively. Two major mills even extended their July pricing through the month of August as well, suggesting that things may finally be beginning to cool off.
There have been a couple explanations for this, but most agree, as galvanized coil demand was losing its momentum, mills shifted their production to HRC, as that product was much stronger. Now, ironically, there is more tonnage available and not as strong of a demand for it. This could just be the usual summer doldrums, but it could also be the flat rolled market finally hitting the peak of its latest price rally.
The above offers are for August production and October deliveries as Chinese steel products for July production will not be available for exports, as they are to remain in the domestic market to be used in the relief efforts for the devastating May earthquake in China, according to government mandate.