NEW YORK (Scrap Register): United States HRC steel prices further decreased in September, starting the month at $585 a short ton FOB Midwest Mill and ending up at $540 a short ton on the final day.
Reasons cited for the decrease included weak end-user markets and a fall in scrap prices in September which hindered the ability of the mills to announce increases to finished steel prices.
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According to TSI, the daily US HRC benchmark slumped $45 a short ton over a four-week period to close at $540 a short ton at the end of September—its lowest level since early May 2016.
HRC delivery lead-times fell in September, from 4.6 weeks early in the month down to as low as 3.6 weeks, before rising back up to 4.4 weeks by the end of the month.
In September the shredded scrap 10-day average index dropped by $14/long ton, leaving the HRC market little room for increases. The fall eroded any chance of mills raising finished steel prices in the local market.
Mill capacity utilization decreased throughout September from 70.8% down to 68.6% by the end of the month. Crude steel production dropped to 1.605 million s. tons, down from 1.656 million s. tons earlier in the month, according to American Iron and Steel Institute data. Much of the decrease in production was attributed to scheduled mill outages.
Service center inventories of carbon flat rolled products fell by 18% y-o-y in August to 4.91 million short tons, according to data from the Metals Service Center Institute. Service centers were booking to fill customer orders and preferred to avoid building inventory while prices were still in decline.
The US International Trade Commission applied HRC duties on 7 countries: Australia, Brazil, Japan, South Korea, Netherlands, UK and Turkey.
A number of US mills petitioned to start a case against Vietnam on CRC and HDG exports after alleging Vietnam was processing Chinese HRC and then selling it onwards into the US. Sheet imports into the US have dropped steadily since July, according to the Dept. of Commerce.
(This article is compiled by Vibin Antony on behalf of Scrap Register. Send in your suggestions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org)