HR: Shows more signs of evening out….Down $7/ton ($0.35/cwt) this week…From January to February HR was up about $5.00/cwt…..from February to March it was up another $5.00/cwt or so…..But from March 14 to April 20, (six Wednesdays) we have seen HR price from $41.80 to $43.20, just a spread of $1.40/cwt.
CR: Stubborn as ever, CR hits new current high of $1018/ton ($50.90/cwt)….CR up about $9.00/cwt since beginning of the year.
GV: Down $2/ton, or ($0.10/cwt)….It is up about $10.00/cwt since beginning of the year
Capacity utilization has dropped recently to 76.1% down from 77%. Additionally, service center inventories have dropped to 2.1 months ;the lowest since November of last year. Mill lead times run the gamut, with averages of 6.5 weeks for HR, 7.5 weeks for CR and 8.5 weeks for Galv.
The market is at a precarious point, the 232 tariff exclusions are set to expire May 1. The administration may extend them or completely remove them as trade negotiations
continue. This is certain to add additional volatility to market. The tariffs have all but dried up any foreign offers at the near term. Most in the trade feel that the price levels have plateaued but will remain for a period prior to the correction. Additionally, the current price levels are beginning to show up in end use products, with some looking to adjust their supply chain to offshore manufacturing. A truly undesirable net effect of the section 232 rulings. Conversely, as component prices increase as well as end products, inflation has to creep in. Look to the central bank to react quickly with monetary policy adjustments. Those rate increases will further impair the credit status of metal users and buyers who are already seeing their lines of credit consumed by a 49% increase in steel pricing….. stay tuned…