US domestic rebar prices stable, with hints at uptrend

Wednesday, 30 January 2019 01:19:22 (GMT+3)   |   San Diego

As of last week, buyers in the US domestic rebar market expected a relatively stable price trend in the near-term, although new developments in the scrap market have altered expectations somewhat. Previously, US domestic scrap prices were predicted to follow a sideways to slightly down trend in February, but the ongoing Polar Vortex storms hitting the Midwest and East Coast have changed expectations to account for severe supply constraints and transportation issues. If US shredded scrap prices instead rise next month, sources say US domestic rebar mills might take the opportunity to raise prices.

Whether an official price increase would be successful is a matter of debate, as one source said rebar prices are “finally getting back to where they should be” after US rebar price hikes last year in response to Section 232 tariffs. With signs this week that Congress will demand the elimination of steel tariffs from Mexico and Canada before ratifying the new USMCA trade deal, sources say the possibility of tariff-free Mexican steel re-entering the US market means US rebar mills “can’t be too quick on the increase trigger.”

For now, US domestic rebar spot prices are stable, although some sources are expecting shipment problems in areas affected by sub-zero temperatures. In the Midwest, US rebar prices are ranging from $34.50-$35.50 cwt. ($690-$710/nt or $761-$783/mt) ex-mill, while spot prices on the East Coast are closer to $36.00-$37.00 cwt. ($720-$740/nt or $793-$816/mt) ex-mill.

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