As of August 9, carbon sheet prices had declined for 16 consecutive weeks. HRC prices have declined $690/ton or 47% within this timeframe.
In the same timeframe, carbon plate mills reduced prices by $120/ton in early August. However, the spread between HRC and PMP remains high. Historically, the pricing spread between hot-rolled carbon sheet and plate is roughly $150-$200. As of early August, that spread remains at historic levels, over $900.
Despite a slight drop to start the month, the price of plate was at $1,754/ton on August 3 compared to that of hot-rolled sheet, which was $832/ton.
But why? Brian Crane, Ryerson’s product manager for carbon flat roll and plate in the west region, says it’s a combination of robust end-user demand and limited capacity for plate.
“We are seeing some first-stage infrastructure projects coming online, many of which require material to be sourced domestically,” says Crane. “And while the market is anticipating additional capacity coming online for sheet this year, there isn’t the same expectation for plate. That means current plate mills are quite busy keeping up with demand.”
In addition, capacity utilization at carbon mills as fallen to a 14-month low of 78.4%
Hear more about what Crane had to say about the current market for carbon plate and sheet:
What is the Price of Coated Steel?
Another positive is the fact that coated sheet has begun to move lower. As of July 13, prices were around $1486/ton. Much of the price increase as of late was due to a rise in the cost of the zinc added to coat the sheet. But that has fallen $211/ton since last month’s official price and is down a little over $530/ton year to date.
Need to explore the current stock of carbon steel? Browse our shop here.
What's Moving Carbon Long Products?
So much has been said about the price of carbon flat roll. But what about that of carbon long products? The market for carbon tubing products began to tighten in late 2020, followed by bar in early 2021. And since that time, the market for both products haven’t gotten much better.
For more information on this trend and more, check out this clip: