US hot rolled coil prices have slid to $1,000-1,010/short ton from $1,040-1,060/st the previous week, the fourth decrease since the start of the year.

Cold rolled coil prices made a less dramatic slip to $1,260-1,270/st from $1,270-1,290/st, Kallanish reports.

One mill source anticipates that automakers' increased projections for this year will increase steel consumption. 

“The forecast calls for 2024 to build slightly more in total USMCA (US-Mexico-Canada Agreement) production than 2023," states the mill source. "Ultimately, there is a belief that 16.0-16.5 million is where things will top out in USMCA. 2024 is projected at about 15.7m [for US] after 15.4m 2023. So, more HRC, more CRC, more HDG,” i.e. hot dipped galvanized.

A Midwestern distribution source adds: “Interest rates are a macro factor with expected influences on demand. Higher rates, lower demand."

As the higher rates are causing many lenders to tighten standards, thereby reducing capital, consumption decreases and inventories continue to dwindle. The Federal Reserve may not cut interest rates as quickly as many hoped, given the recent report that January’s consumer price index did not confirm an expected disinflation trend.

In the equivalent week of 2023, HRC prices transacted within the range of $800-900/st and CRC ranged between $1,050-1,080/st.

All prices are ex-works domestic mill.