Domestic Steel Prices on the Rebound

Relative Domestic Prices on the Rebound. After hitting near-record lows in December, domestic steel prices have shown a modest rebound in January after several previously announced domestic price increases have been accepted by the market. Rebar prices in the U.S. in January already have risen $60 a ton, or 13% from December, and are up sharply relative to China and Europe where prices have slightly increased, and vs. Japan where prices have fallen 7%.

Rebar prices were at a 10-year record low vs. Japan in December so the recent surge was expected. Plate prices have risen 12% in January to date, and are up significantly relative to China and Europe. Absolute hot-rolled-coil prices in the U.S. have risen 12% so far for the month, and are up relative to China where prices have increased 4%, and up sharply relative to Europe and Japan where prices have fallen.

Domestic beam prices increased by $40 a ton, or 6.3%, in January, and are up relative to China, Europe, and Japan which have posted increases of 1.7% and 3%, and a decrease of 6.1%, respectively.

Outlook. We believe the increase in domestic prices will continue as U.S. prices begin to play “catch-up” with the rest of the world and approach historical premiums. The upward trend in domestic prices is further supported by depleted inventories, a reduction in imports, and a pickup in exports.

by Michelle Applebaum from thestreet.com

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