The monthly Raw Steels MMI® held steady at 82, fully 18 points below the January 2012 reading of 100. Although the LME steel billet price rose slightly, the underlying dynamics of the steel market suggest current price rises for flat rolled products have more to do with domestic supply disruptions from AK Steel and US Steel Corp., as well as fourth quarter automotive demand, than any structural or systemic improvement in steel demand.
Steel Price Forecast 2014
“It remains unclear as to whether Q4 2014 will follow previous years’ trends of rising prices into Q1,” said Lisa Reisman, managing editor of MetalMiner. “The global dynamics suggest otherwise.” Nonetheless, manufacturers have reported rising steel price quotes. Whether the price rises will stick remains unclear.
The steel longs market, meanwhile, has faced some price pressure as construction numbers have led to a mixed bag – in particular the rate of growth for non-residential construction starts has begun to decline.
Meanwhile, China continues to produce massive volumes of steel and substantially more tonnage than the Chinese market requires, leading to global oversupply.
Key Drivers of the Steel Price Index
The price of Chinese slab closed the month at $573.42 per metric ton after dropping 4.3 percent. Korean steel scrap prices dropped by 2.2 percent this month to $311.74 per metric ton. US shredded scrap closed the month at $356.00 per short ton after dropping 1.9 percent. The price of Korean pig iron held jumped 3.5 percent to $590.92 per metric ton last month.
The 3-month price of the US HRC futures contract closed the month up 0.3 percent at $630.00 per short ton.
Chinese billet traded slightly higher last month, staying around $508.07 per metric ton. Prices for Chinese coking coal bumped up only a tiny bit this past month, holding at around $223.81 per metric ton. The China price of 58% iron ore fines from India budged upward only marginally.
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.