MetalMiner experts talk steel imports, steel prices (and more) during ROTH webinar

During a recent ROTH Capital Partners webinar session, MetalMiner CEO Lisa Reisman and Don Hauser, vice president of business solutions, covered a wide range of metals-related topics, from the recent LME nickel debacle to potential metal price drivers to steel imports and steel prices.
If you missed it, register to receive a recording of the webinar and get all of Reisman and Hauser’s insights on metals markets from the hourlong session.

US steel imports plunge in February

steel shipment
Hor/Adobe Stock

On the last point, Hauser took a look at February’s decline in steel imports and the landscape for steel prices.
According to a recent report by the American Iron and Steel Institute, U.S. steel imports declined by 23% from January to February. The U.S. imported 2.34 million net tons of steel in February, according to AISI. That compares with 3.04 million net tons of steel imports in January.
By product, the U.S. saw a jump in imports of some products, including rebar, heavy structural shapes and line pipe, according to Census Bureau data. Rebar imports reached 139,171 tons in February, up 96% from January.
Hauser commented on the import numbers during the webinar session.
“If you look at when steel prices peaked … the steel market peaked in October and you can see in November is when everything started hitting the shores and being delivered,” he said.
Imports remained high in November, December and January, as steel prices began to decline.
U.S. HRC price chart
Source: MetalMiner Insights

Steel prices in other countries increased, Hauser noted, in part as a result of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war. The MetalMiner team will break down the war’s impact on commodities during a webinar session at 11:00 a.m. Central Time, Wednesday, March 30.
However, steel prices have also been on the rise in other countries, particularly in Asia, Hauser noted.
“Steel is really kind of liquid,” Hauser explained. “It moves around so it’s not necessarily something happens in one place and it only affects that market. … You’re seeing that right now, prices were falling down to close to $1,000 a ton. Now they’re ramping back up.”
The hot rolled coil steel price closed last week at $1,312 per short ton, according to MetalMiner Insights data. That price is up over 16% month over month.
Meanwhile, cold rolled coil closed at $1,721 per short ton, or up nearly 7% month over month.
The MetalMiner weekly newsletter contains further analysis of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war and its impact on metals markets, including steel prices.

Russia-Ukraine impact

Hauser also put the war’s impact into further context, noting the destruction of steel mills and sanctions are bringing steel prices upward in Europe.
“That’s really affecting the Europe imports,” he said. “Not so much Russia direct, although that does have some impact. There is some steel that was coming Russia direct to the U.S. NLMK is a decent-sized mill in the U.S., and that’s Russian-owned. They bring Russian slabs in — that’s off.”
The MetalMiner team will break down the impact of the war on metals markets even further this week during the aforementioned webinar on Wednesday, March 30

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