News & Announcements

POSTED August 21, 2014

Market Overview – August 2014

Scrap

The AMM Shredded Scrap Index for Chicago increased by $10/GT and now stands at $375/GT as of mid Aug ’14 from early Jul ’14. AMM Shredded Chicago scrap is generally used as an indicator by most domestic electric arc furnace mills to help determine price changes for finished steel products. Market participants are forecasting a sideways move or may trade in a narrow band based on stable domestic and international activity.

Carbon Plate

Mill lead times are roughly 15-17 weeks for delivery from the Midwest with 7-8 week lead times from the West Coast. Domestic plate mill, Nucor, announced a price increase of $30/ton for carbon plate and $40/ton for heat treat plate in mid Aug ’14. The balance of the domestic mills has yet to support Nucor’s recent pricing move. Extended domestic plate mill lead times are due to strong demand in energy, rail car, bridge infrastructure, and shipbuilding markets.

Carbon Sheet

Mill lead times are roughly 6-7 weeks from the West Coast and 8-11 weeks for delivery from the Midwest. Domestic West Coast sheet producer, CSI, announced a price increase of $20/ton in Aug ’14. Midwest sheet producers have yet to show support for CSI’s recent pricing move. Domestic mill backlogs appear to be stable.

HSS Tubing

Tube mill rolling cycles are holding at roughly 5-6 weeks for West Coast tube mills. Midwest and West Coast tube mills announced a series of price increases in Apr and Jun ’14, but not formal price changes have been announced in Jul or Aug ’14. Tube price increases will most likely be dependent on additional sheet increases.

Merchant Bar

Lead times remain at roughly 4-7 weeks for most production runs on the West Coast. After domestic mills raised prices in Jan ’14, the domestic market has been flat for the past seven months. Future price changes appear to be dependent on more significant changes to the domestic scrap market and/or changes to import volumes.

Beams

Lead times are roughly 6-8 weeks for West Coast delivery. Gerdau and Nucor announced a $20/ton price increase in Mar ’14, but prices have remained unchanged for five months. Beam mills are signaling that nonresidential building continues to improve from recession lows.

Market Overview

Domestic price increases were made by select mills for both plate and sheet in Aug ’14, whereas, no other price changes were announced by tube, merchant bar, or beam mills. Scrap prices increased by $10/GT from early Jul ’14 to Aug ’14, but are expected to move sideways in the coming 30 days. According to the Institute of Supply Management (ISM), the overall economy grew for the 62nd consecutive month. ISM indicates domestic manufacturing expanded with a reading of 57.1 for Jul ’14, which is up from a Jun ’14 reading of 55.3. The ISM New Orders and Production Index also reported readings of 63.4 and 61.2 in Jul ’14 up from 58.9 and 60.0 in Jun ’14 respectively. ISM readings greater than 50 signal expansion. The US Labor Department showed payrolls increasing in Jul ’14 by 209,000 jobs with an unemployment rate of 6.2%. The US Department of Commerce indicates that GDP grew at an annual rate of 4.0% in Q2 ’14, which is up from a 2.9% decrease in Q1 ’14.

Sources include: AMM, ISM, Bloomberg, AP, US Labor & Commerce Departments, Domestic Steel Mills.