July at a Glance: Prices Up

Written by Brett Linton

The long-awaited rebound in steel prices was the biggest story of the month in July. Steel Market Update’s Price Momentum Indicator was pointing firmly upward by the end of the month following three $40 price increase announcements by flat rolled steel producers. The benchmark price of hot rolled steel hit $580 per ton in July, up more than 10 percent from the beginning of the month. Cold rolled and galvanized saw similar increases. The market for plate steel remains under pressure, however, with the average price declining to $770 per ton during the month.

The upturn in prices has had a similar effect on industry optimism. Both SMU’s Current and Future Steel Buyers Sentiment Indexes saw notable increases during the month, though at +49 and +57, respectively, they remain well below the peaks of last year.

The price of ferrous scrap trended downward in the three months through July, but is predicted to increase in August, lending support to higher finished steel prices.

See the chart below for a snapshot of other supply/demand indicators in July.

To see a history of our monthly review tables, visit our website here.

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