“Steel buyers in the United States are bearish on the price outlook for hot-rolled,” he says. “They’re now receiving offers for hot-rolled band from abroad in the $740-$800 per-net-ton range, which compares to the domestic price in the $870-$890 per-ton range.”
The world’s steelmakers are increasing output despite softer demand, pushing down prices.
In a few countries, notably Brazil and the U.S., steel prices remain high, thanks to steady demand in the former and limited output in the latter. Many U.S. plants that had shut down or pared production during the recession haven’t yet gone back online fully. AK Steel Holding Corp. in February said it would increase, by $50 a short ton, prices for all of its carbon, flat-rolled steel products, a move followed by other U.S. steelmakers.
But U.S. prices—especially for hot-rolled steel, a key component used in most steel products—could be headed lower too, says Peter Marcus, economist and steel analyst for World Steel Dynamics Inc., a consulting firm.
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