Forecasts and market analysis based on price assessments from Fastmarkets MB and Fastmarkets AMM

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September 2014 | Galvanized Steel and Tinplate Market Tracker

US HDG prices start to give in to downward import pressure: American Market Highlights

Domestic supplies have increased in recent months, with the integrated capacity that had been idled during the harsh winter now totally restarted and most producers, especially those servicing the automotive market, running virtually at full capacity.

Helped by a strengthening economy, across the board improvements in the major consuming markets and a stronger than usual summer, US hot-dipped galvanized sheet (HDG) has been surprisingly resilient given the wide and growing differential between domestic and foreign prices. The saving grace has been the unwillingness of service centre customers, who were badly burned during the 2008-09 financial crash, to risk the longer lead times of imported steel.

But with the pricing gap reaching $120-$150/short ton at a time when HDG inventories have fallen to near record lows, with only about 1.7 months of supply on hand, and every indication that their customers’ demand will continue to grow in the foreseeable future, distributors have been increasingly tempted by the lower prices of foreign steel.

The result was that 258,031 metric tonnes of HDG sheet and strip was imported in July. This represents a 117.5% increase...


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