Schuff Steel Company recognizes the importance of staying current with trends that affect business and the industry as a whole. Since 1976, we have prided ourselves on maintaining intimate knowledge of where the steel industry is headed. This practice, along with a forward thinking and an open mindset has supported our lead in complex structural steel development.
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- GDP: Grew by 2.5% in 2019 which is down from 2.9% in 2018.1
- Unemployment rate: By 2019, the unemployment rate will decline to 3.4%.1
- Crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was 146.7 million tons in January 2019, a 1% increase compared to last January. 1
- The US produced 7.6 million tons of crude steel in January 2019, which is 11% more than January of last year. 1
- Year-to-date raw steel production through March 9, 2019 was adjusted to 18,380,000 net tons, at a capability utilization rate of 81.3%. That’s an increase of 6.8% from the 17,209,000 net tons during the first quarter of last year, when the capability utilization rate was 76.6%.1
Material pricing changes over the last quarter
- As a result of increased US capacity and inventory destocking, supply and demand issues have reduced the prices of HR coils compared to last years’ highs.
- US Mills tried to increase HR coil prices by $80 per ton, year to date, however only $20 maximum per ton of these increases has actually stuck.
- HSS and Pipe prices have not increased and as a result, the mills have not been able to pass along any HR Coil price increases.
- Plate lead times are out approximately 6 weeks, though pricing remains stable with just a slight slip. Summer generally experiences slow periods and prices falls, but this summer pricing is expected to remain firm.
- Scrap has experienced recent increases that are attributed to foreign market changes and increased demand. The tailings dam collapse in Brazil at the Vale mine also caused a shortage of iron ore in the market.
- The prices of beams increased $30 per ton in the first quarter and that pricing had held firm.
- Beams and other shapes are being priced and held for 9 months. The mills are expecting beams to remain stable this year, barring any unknown market factors including things like changes in tariffs or duties or rulings in ongoing trade cases.
- The ITC determined that US fabricators have been harmed by imports of fabricated steel by Canada, China and Mexico. This means the trade case will continue until a final determination is made.
- Nucor. Steel Industry Barometer. PDF file. March 2019