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Steel Prices – Which Way is the Market Going?

The Steel Index Reference Prices for last week (The Steel Index is owned by Steel Business Briefing).

Below is a quick summary of the past two weeks.

Hot roll coil prices – were up $5 per ton each week for the past two weeks (total of $10 ton). Over the past four weeks the change has been +$39 per ton ($1.95/cwt).

Cold rolled prices – were up by $11 per ton two weeks ago and another $10 per ton for the week ending May 18th (total of $21 per ton). Over the past four weeks prices have been higher by $69 per ton ($3.45/cwt).

Galvanized prices – were higher two weeks ago by $20 per ton. This past week the number was down by $9 per ton (total for the two week is +$11 per ton). Over the past four weeks galvanized has been higher by $73 per ton ($3.65/cwt).

Lead times – have been extending according to The Steel Index. Hot Rolled lead times are out to 7.3 weeks. Cold Rolled lead times are out to 8.7 weeks and, galvanized lead times are at 7.7 weeks. All three are slightly longer than the previous week’s report.

Stock Levels – appear to becoming very stable. 70% of respondents reported “no change” while only 15% each reported that their inventories “increased” or “decreased”. Sounds like a balanced inventory situation to me.

Demand Outlook over the Next 3 Months – demand appears to be leaning toward a decrease as 10% of the respondents are now reporting that business will “strongly decrease”, another 20% called for a “decrease” and about 50% called for “no change”.

Price Outlook for the next 3 months – continues to be heavily weighted towards believing that higher prices are ahead during the next three months. However, 10% of the respondents “strongly disagree” with that assessment.(Source: The Steel Index)

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