US hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices declined at their sharpest rate since the end of August as falling scrap prices and weak demand weighed on the spot market.
The Argus weekly domestic US HRC Midwest assessment fell by $20.25/short ton (st) to $755.75/st, while the southern assessment dropped by $22.75/st to the same level.
HRC lead times in the Midwest fell to 3-4 weeks from 4 weeks.
Most offers were reported between $720-760/st, with a few up at $780/st.
Recent idlings of two blast furnaces by US Steel that will take off 731,000st of raw steel production in the fourth quarter have not generated a slowing in price declines nor improved sentiment among buyers, who all believe the market is still oversupplied.
Prime scrap prices feel by $30-40/gross ton (gt) in the October trade, with #1 busheling falling to a $40/gt discount to shred.
Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) who represent steel employees at integrated steelmaker Cleveland-Cliffs are expected to have their votes tallied this week on a new contract agreement. USW leadership supports approval of the tentative agreement with Cliffs.
US Steel and the USW are continuing to negotiate for a new contract to replace the one that expired on 1 September. It is unclear how a potential approval by Cliffs' USW membership would impact the negotiations between the union and US Steel.
The Argus HRC import assessment into Houston was flat at $685/st ddp on no import offers.
The spread between #1 busheling scrap delivered US Midwest mills and HRC selling prices fell by 4.6pc to $415/st.
A year ago the spread was $1,421/st as HRC prices were hovering near record-high levels.
The Argus weekly domestic US cold-rolled coil (CRC) assessment was flat at $1,000/st, while the hot dipped galvanized (HDG) coil assessment fell by $24.25/st to $1,022.50/st.
Lead times for CRC were down to 6-7 weeks from 7-8 weeks, while HDG lead times fell to 5-6 weeks from 6 weeks.
The CME HRC Midwest futures market was down by double digits in the last week, with the futures prices in backwardation through March. November prices fell by $32/st to $719/st, while December prices dropped by $40/st to $720/st. January prices were down by $34/st to $731/st, while February prices fell by $28/st to $742/st. March prices declined by $30/st to $750/st, and April prices were down by $21/st to $764/st.
The Argus weekly domestic US ex-works plate assessment was flat at $1,620/st as steelmaker Nucor works to maintain current pricing levels.
The plate market has become increasingly tough for buyers, with many continuing to reduce their purchases as prices are expected to remain under pressure as the spread with HRC remains near historic highs.
Lead times were down to 4 weeks from 4-5 weeks.
The plate delivered assessment fell by $11.50/st to $1,665/st. argusmedia.com
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