Our Raw Steels MMI fell by two points, dragged down by a sharp drop in coking coal prices. Chinese coking coal prices have been quite volatile over the past few months. But despite the recent decline, prices are still well above last year’s levels.
On the bullish side, we saw a big increase in steel flat product prices, both domestically and internationally.
Hot-rolled coil and cold-rolled coil prices in the U.S. have risen 13% and 17% respectively since they hit bottom in mid-November.
Additionally, steel prices in China continued to climb in December. We already noted, that one of the reasons to expect higher steel prices in the U.S. was rising Chinese prices. Prices in China set the floor for international prices and the spread between U.S. and international steel prices has narrowed so much in some steel product categories, like HRC, that there isn’t much incentive for domestic steel buyers to look for import offers.