US HRC prices vulnerable to softening amidst falling demand

Friday, 20 March 2020 21:14:05 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

The COVID-19 virus continues to hammer finished steel demand. Earlier this week, the mayor of Boston, MA announced a two-week pause of construction projects throughout the city. US automakers have also announced they’ll be suspending production through the end of the month, out of an abundance of concern over the potential spread of the virus.

And while US HRC prices are still mostly stable, in the range of $28-$30 cwt. ($617-$661/mt or $560-$600/nt), ex-mill, SteelOrbis sources believe that price softening is on the horizon.

SteelOrbis has reported that scrap prices are likely to trend down between $20-$30/gt ($20-$30/mt) during next month’s buy cycle, and some believe that prices may fall further. Current market expectations, which are fluid based on the rapidly changing landscape, puts US HRC prices at an average of $25 cwt. ($551/mt or $500/nt) in the second quarter of 2020. Predictions for Q3 are that prices could fall to levels similar to what was seen last September, when US HRC prices hovered at $23 cwt. ($507/mt or $460/nt). Market experts believe that recovery is unlikely to occur until the final 3 months of the year.


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