The Raw Steels Monthly Metals Index (MMI) rose by 4.9% month over month, even as U.S. steel prices continue to fall (at least for now).
U.S. steel prices, with the exception of plate, continue their descent in spite of curtailments and capacity delays instituted by steelmakers. Hot-rolled coil prices have closed in on the $1,000/st price mark. Prices now sit almost 47% beneath last October’s peak.
Buyers should make sure to take advantage of falling steel prices and follow best practices to buy strategically.
Steelmakers announce price increases
Eager to stem the drop, both Nucor and Cleveland-Cliffs announced increases for steel prices in late February. Both steelmakers increased prices for HRC, CRC, and HDG by $50/st.
The increases follow a number of outages and delays from various steelmakers. Cleveland-Cliffs will shut several lines from March 19 through June 11 for maintenance. The outage will cut output by as much as 411,000 short tons.
Cliffs will also idle its Indiana Harbor blast furnace. The outage will extend through April and could remove up to 1.4 million short tons from the market. U.S. Steel’s Granite City mill will likewise take a 25-day outage. The outages come alongside the delayed restart and start of Nucor’s Gallatin mill and expansion.
Between the delays and outages, estimates for total U.S. production lost extends to more than 30,000 short tons per day.
Domestic market exposure to Russia, Ukraine
As with other metals, the U.S. steel market remains vulnerable to the Russian war in Ukraine.