Is the price of steel going up or down? What are steel prices today?

What is the price of steel? 

  • Domestic prices for metal sheet remain below the highs of 2023, but are moving slightly higher as of late. However, the price of $812/ton as of May 13 is slightly higher than $817/ton last month.

Spot Steel Indexes from Steel Mills

Both Nucor (weekly) and Cleveland Cliffs (monthly) have introduced spot indexes for hot-rolled steel. As of May 13, spot prices from Nucor and Cliffs stood at $760 and $850, respectively, compared to CRU's $813. 

Shortly thereafter, Nucor announced a $90 /ton decrease on as-rolled and normalized plate for June production. Other mills have lowered prices in response.

• These spot prices are expected to become the standard for spot transactions at the respective mills, without discounts or volume metrics.
• It's worth noting that while these new spot prices exist, most steel contracts are still based on the CRU index or scrap-based pricing models.
• The impact of these new indexes on the broader steel market is still unclear, but they're being closely monitored for potential future significance.
• Futures contracts for hot roll steel show signs of stability, with prices settling in the mid to low $800 range and displaying relatively tame fluctuations.

Nick Webb, Ryerson's director of risk management, commodity hedging, breaks down what all this means: 


What is the Price of Steel Plate?

Plate CRU prices are still historically high compared to HRC, currently at $363/ton above HRC. The spread got as high as $700/ton early last year. 

What is the Capacity Utilization Rate for Steel Mills?

According to the American Iron and Steel Institute, for the week ending on May 4, 2024, domestic raw steel production was 1,709,000 net tons while the capacity utilization rate was 77%. This is slightly down from last year at this time, around 78%.

What is the Price of Coated Steel?

The price of coated steel, which had been quiet for some time, has been making some news lately. Current premiums for galvanized steel are approximately $400 over hot roll coil prices—a substantial increase compared to historical averages. This trend signifies a significant market shift, with the market dynamics favoring value-added steel products.

Webb suggests that the widening spread between hot roll coil and value-added steel variants like galvanized steel reflects robust demand in key sectors such as HVAC and automotive.

Also contributing to the increasing spread are recent price hikes in zinc—a primary component used in galvanization. In early April, zinc prices rose by 6 to 8% in just a few days, indicating potential cost pressures on coating extras for steel.

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