UNITED STATES September 18 2015 9:25 AM
NEW YORK (Scrap Register): US flat steel prices failed to pick-up in August, despite trade action and price hikes announced by steel producers in the US Midwest. TSI’s daily HR coil index fell by $16 a short ton over the month to $454 a short ton on the final day, only $10 a short ton off recent record lows.
After US Steel’s $40 a short ton price increase in July, mills were on the offensive once again, filing petitions to impose anti dumping and countervailing duties for HR coil imports from seven countries. Notably, China was not the target of this particular allegation, but the list did cover the key export nations of Japan and South Korea.
The impact of trade action, like the price increase in July, has until now had little impact in supporting higher spot price levels. At best, trade action may be responsible for halting a price slide.
Demand and transaction activity was quiet overall - expected over the summer months but exacerbated by uncertainty surrounding the out-come of labor talks between the US Steelworkers Union and US Steel / ArcelorMittal. Significant currency depreciations in Asia also induced fears of increased imports from the region.
Data released by the Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) showed July shipments by service centres slid 7% year-on-year to 3.44 million short ton. Year-to-date (YTD) shipments totalled just over 24 million short ton, 5.3% lower year-on-year.
July inventories at service centers rose 5% year-on-year to 9.18 million short ton, which at current shipping rates amounted to 2.7 months of supply.