US plate prices are holding their ground on stable demand. Limited imports and long mill times are also contributing to pricing.
Lead times are averaging nine to 12 weeks. But some mills won’t have spot tons available until 2019, if it all.
Plate prices are expected to rise or at least remain unchanged. Although prices might be inflated, original equipment manufacturers are consistent buyers, thus keeping demand high.
For example, energy and rail car industries are driving strong demand, which is holding prices high.
Although the rail car industries are driving demand, railroad companies are making the logistics of delivering steel more complicated.
Also causing problems with logistics is Hurricane Florence, which has brought flooding to many of the regions interstate highways.
The AMM reports, “The plate market is also tight because supplies have been marginally reduced by ArcelorMittal USA’s idling of a plate mill in Pennsylvania, an upcoming maintenance outage at an SSAB Americas mill in Iowa and lower import volumes.”
However, hot-rolled coil does not have supply issues. Capacity is being increased at U.S. Steel’s Granite City Works, Illinois and JSW Steel, Mingo Junction, Ohio. Also imports have not declined.
US hot-rolled coil imports have risen 19.5% for the first 7 months of this year, compared to the same time last year.
Until plate imports increase or demand decreases, it looks like present plate prices are sustainable.
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