Gerdau: "Not Consuming Enough Steel"; Monthly Price Index Drops

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steel price

MetalMiner’s steel price index has now fallen to its lowest level since the MMI series began, dropping four points to 80.

The drop comes as a result of several factors, including falling Chinese slab and HRC prices, and continued Chinese steel demand weakness. However, some analysts speculate that China will begin picking up a little steam later this summer and into fall. Prices also remain weak for domestic scrap.

“Unless and until we see a pickup in China steel demand, we believe steel prices will remain flat or possibly still decline a bit, though it appears as though domestic steel scrap prices have stabilized,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “Though some end-use sectors continue to show strength (automotive had a good month), US domestic demand remains lackluster.”

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Our friends at Gerdau Steel Market Update have been tracking the Chicago Fed National Activity Index (CFNAI), which has correlated pretty well with steel supply up to the start of the great recession.

The most recent trendline suggests that “we are not consuming enough steel…this clearly indicates that the construction sector (primarily non-residential) has yet to see the upturn that it would have ‘normally’ realized at this point in the recovery phase,” according to Gerdau.

Primary Steel and Raw Material Price Drivers

The monthly Raw Steels MMI® registered a value of 80 in June, a decrease of 4.8 percent from 84 in May.

A 4.7 percent decline for US shredded scrap left the price lower on the month. Chinese coking coal prices dropped by 4.7 percent. A 4.2 percent drop over the past month left Chinese slab lower too. A 3.3 percent decline for the US HRC futures contract spot price left it at $578.00 per short ton. Korean steel scrap was down 2.9 percent for the month. Chinese billet fell a slight 1.5 percent over the past month. The US HRC futures contract 3-month price finished the month at $600.00 per short ton after dropping 1.2 percent.

After rising 18.2 percent, the cash price of steel billet finished the month at $130.00 per metric ton on the LME. It was also a strong month on the LME for the 3-month price of steel billet. The metal posted a 15.4 percent increase, finishing at $150.00 per metric ton.

Prices for Korean pig iron remained constant this past month.

FREE Download: The most recent Monthly MMI® Report – price trends for 10 metal markets!

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 over a 30-day period. 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.