Market Update | March 22, 2023



After sliding for a year straight, February existing home sales came in at a 4.580 million unit rate, up 14.5% from January. However, sales are still down 22.6% from the 5.920 million unit rate last February. Sales have now slid, on a year-over- year basis, for eighteen consecutive months.


Input Costs

After sliding the previous four weeks, zinc pricing was relatively steady this week.

    • Zinc pricing came in at $1.30/lb this week, flat from last week but remains its lowest level since the early November.

    • The recent unsettling around the banking industry has pushed the U.S. dollar higher, which inverse negatively impacts commodity pricing.


After the run up over the previous three months, spot iron ore pricing has remained steady over the past couple of weeks.

    • Spot iron ore pricing is currently at $128.26/mt, down a slight 1.4% from last week but is up nearly 3% from last month and up 16.5% over the last 90 days.


Continued recovery in steel demand from China has helped to push coking coal pricing higher as of late.

    • Coking coal pricing currently sits at $338/mt, down 6.4% from last week, but remains 14.8% up from the start of the year.
    • Current coking coal inventories in China remain well below year-ago levels, currently 26% levels seen last March.




U.S. raw steel production continued to increase last week.

    • U.S. steelmakers produced 1.686 million tons at an 75.0% utilization rate.
    • This was the highest weekly output since mid-October.
    • Despite the recent increase, YTD production is down 4.7% compared to last year.


Preliminary March import licenses, (20 days), showed carbon flat rolled imports are up 14.5% from the same time in February.

    • Coated import licenses are running at the same pace as they were in February, which has been fairly steady since the start of the year.




After sliding for a year straight, existing home sales rebounded in February.

    • February existing home sales came in at a 4.580 million unit rate, up 14.5% from January but was still down 22.6% from the 5.920 million unit rate last February.

    • Sales have now slid, on a year-over-year basis, for eighteen consecutive months.

    • The median home price came in at $363,000, up slightly from January but was down 0.2% from February 2022.

    • This is the first year-over-year decline for the median sales price since February 2012 (131 months).
    • The number of existing homes for sales at the end of February held steady from January at 980,000 units.
    • The current inventory, when combined with February’s sales pace, equates to 2.6 months of supply.


After plummeting as of late, mortgage applications increased for the second consecutive week, climbing 3.0% from the previous report.

    • Within the overall index, the Refinance Index increased 5% but was still 68% lower than same week last year.

    • The Purchase Index increased as well, climbing 2.0% from the previous week but is 36% below year ago levels.

    • The uncertainty of the banking sector and increasing worries over the economy helped to push treasury yields lower last week, which in turn helped mortgage rates decline.
    • The drop in treasury yields continues to outpace the decline in mortgage rates, as spread between the 30-year fixed and the 10-year treasury held at 3%, well above the typical 1.8% spread.


Activity at the architecture firm level slowed further in February as the Architecture Billings Index came in at 48.0.

    • This is down from 49.3 in January and 51.3 in February 2022.

    • This is the fifth consecutive month with a reading below the key 50.0 level, which indicates a decrease in activity.

    • The new project inquires slowed from January, but remains positive, slipping to 55 from 55.2 previously.

    • Regionally, only the West was above 50.0, coming in at 50.4.
    • The South (47.3) was the weakest region in February.
    • The mixed-practice (57.0) remained the strongest sector, as multi-family residential (46.2) was the weakest.







This material, information and analyses (the “Content”) may include certain statements, estimates and projections prepared with respect to, among other things, historical data and anticipated performance.  Content may reflect various assumptions by Majestic Steel USA, Inc. concerning anticipated results that are inherently subject to significant economic, competitive and other uncertainties and contingencies and have been included for illustrative purposes.  Content is provided AS-IS.