Weekly Index Down, But Will Cyclone Rusty Drive Steel Prices Higher?

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The week’s biggest mover on the weekly Raw Steels MMI® was the 3-month price of steel billet, which saw a 8.6 percent decline on the LME to $265.00 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 1.8 percent increase the week before.

That’s not the direction at least some are expecting for future steel prices in the near future, since concerns over Tropical Cyclone Rusty (hardy har!) hitting Australia – and particularly Port Hedland, the country’s main iron ore export hub – parlayed into concerns over a major steel price hike. An IHS press release worried about a potential 20 percent increase in steel prices, due to the iron ore shortages that the cyclone could bring about.

Firstly, it all depended on how huge the cyclone actually ended up being (our gut feeling here in the MetalMiner offices is that a 20 percent hike may be the slightest bit alarmist; check back in soon for an upcoming analysis on the situation). Secondly, IHS said that Chinese mills would burn through their ore stocks by April, which again would be less likely if the storm ended up being a dud.

Turns out it was.

Reuters reported that Port Hedland is reopening since the storm weakened before hitting land.

Of course, mitigating commodity risks such as natural disasters is likely at the forefront for such a massive export hub.

In domestic news, US mills including US Steel, AK Steel and Nucor have hiked their prices, according to Reuters, but many wonder whether the $50 per short ton hike will stick due to still-not-robust demand.

The Rest of This Week’s Steel and Raw Material Prices

The LME cash price of steel billet saw a 7.5 percent drop-off this week to $245.00 per metric ton.

today's metal prices - MetalMiner IndXChinese steel prices were mixed for the week. The China price of iron ore 58% fines from India remained tightly rangebound. The price of Chinese slab fell 1.7 percent after rising 2 percent the week before. Following a 0.7 percent increase in the week prior, the price of Chinese HRC fell 3.1 percent last week. Chinese coking coal prices held steady from the previous week.

The US HRC futures contract 3-month price fell 0.3 percent to $638.00 per short ton after rising 0.5 percent the week before. Closing out the third week of declining prices, the US HRC futures contract spot price dropped by 0.2 percent, finishing at $610.00 per short ton.

US shredded scrap remained essentially flat from the previous week.

Korean steel prices were mixed for the week. Korean steel scrap prices ticked up 2.9 percent over the past week. Prices for Korean pig iron remained constant.

The Raw Steels MMI® collects and weights 13 global steel and raw material price points to provide a unique view into global steel price trends. For more information on the Raw Steels MMI®, how it’s calculated or how your company can use the index, please drop us a note at: info (at) agmetalminer (dot) com.