May 22

HRC Prices Up As Section 232 Deadline Nears


HRC Prices Up As Section 232 Deadline Nears

United States hot-rolled coil prices are up for the fourth week in a row. And the main reason is uncertainty over what President Donald Trump will do beyond the June 1 deadline. Will Section 232 exemptions be extended for Canada, European Union and Mexico?

“With prices approaching their highest point in a decade, many buyers feel that there is more risk of prices falling – and their inventories losing value – than of their raw material costs rising further,” reports AMM.

“Section 232 exemptions have been extended to June 1 for Canada, Mexico and the EU. Peter Navarro, the director of the White House Trade Council, has said that countries that aren’t subject to Section 232 tariffs – 25% in the case of steel – will be subject to quotas.”

A top Nucor executive has suggested that Trump won’t extend the June 1 deadline unless bilateral trade talks make progress.

Prices might reach a level not seen in the market since September 2008. If supplies become tight.

But AMM states, “It is nonetheless an unusual time for mills to seek higher prices, because lead times for many producers now stretch solidly into July, a month when prices often dip on the “summer doldrums” – when steel demand and manufacturing activity often slow because of factors such as annual automotive assembly plant shutdowns, sources said.”

Also, low imports are affecting prices. The AMM reports, “In the short term, the uncertainty around June 1 has resulted in a steep decline in imports.”

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