RAW MATERIALS & HRC PRICES CONTINUE TO RISE
Skyrocketing energy prices around the globe continue to push zinc pricing higher this week. Spot iron ore is up 6.6% week-over-week. Supply slowdowns due to weak auto production and high scrap alternative prices are pushing prime scrap prices higher. Early expectations for April predict that scrap could see another triple-digit dollar increase. Additionally, HRC prices around the globe continue to rise as a result of ongoing supply disruptions from Russia and Ukraine.
Zinc pricing pushed higher this week after the relatively flat week last week, as pricing increased to $1.86/lb. this week.
- Skyrocketing energy pricing is affecting smelters around the globe, particularly in Europe, which has helped to push the price higher.
Spot iron ore pricing rebounded this week, climbing to $152.95/mt.
- Spot iron ore pricing is up 6.6% w/w but still below prior year levels.
The recent downtrend for met coal pricing continued this week, with Pacific basin met coal pricing slipping for the third consecutive week.
- Met coal pricing declined to $537/mt this week, down 10.2% from last week but still up 17.5% from this time last month.
After a record month-over-month increase (in dollar terms) in March, prime scrap pricing is poised to continue its upward momentum in April.
- Early expectations are for another triple-digit dollar increase for prime scrap after the $195/mt increase in March.
- Record high scrap alternative prices, combined with the continued supply slowdown due to weak auto production have helped push pricing higher of late.
Domestic raw steel production declined last week after a slight increase previously.
- U.S. steelmakers produced 1.726 million tons at a 79.4% utilization rate.
- This was the lowest weekly output, in tonnage, since early February 2021.
- YTD production is now virtually flat compared to the same timeframe last year.
According to Platts, HRC pricing around the globe continues to see an uptick after the recent disruption to supply from Russia and Ukraine.
- After initially increasing sharply on the back of lower Russian and Ukrainian supply and a sharp increase in raw material costs, hot rolled coil pricing in Northern Europe has steadied on buyer hesitation.
- Current HRC pricing for Northern Europe is around $70.00/cwt.
- Asian HRC pricing slipped slightly this week, sliding to $39.92/cwt.
After slipping recently, confidence among U.S. consumers increased in March.
- March consumer confidence increased to 107.2, the first increase since November.
- While the easing of the delta and omicron variants helped to boost confidence, rising inflation and the war in Ukraine are raising caution flags.
- The current measure of how consumers feel about the economy increased to 153.0, up 10.0 points and at the highest level since July.
- However, the gauge that looks ahead six months declined to 76.6.
- This is down from 80.8 and shows the uncertainty still circling consumers.
The third and final revision to Q4 GDP showed the economy increased at an annual rate of 6.9%.
- This is down slightly from the 7.0% rate with the second revision, but is up from the final Q3 reading of 2.3% growth.
- The downward revisions, with the final reading, showed slowing personal spending and exports.
- The growth in Q4 primarily came from a sharp increase in inventory investment.
- The increase in inventories accounted for 77% of total growth.
- Also helping to push growth higher were increases in exports, residential investment, and consumer spending.
- These increases were partly offset by declines in state and local government spending and climbing imports.
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.