US HDG and CRC scarce despite displaced automotive volumes

US hot-dip galvanized and cold-rolled coil prices maintained their levels on Aug. 12 as domestic mills were still mostly able to book volumes of those products at $2,100/st and above.

The daily Platts TSI US HDG-HRC index rose $12.75 over the week to $2,117/st, while the daily Platts TSI US HDG-CRC index was down by $2.50 at $2,109.25/st within the same time frame. The daily Platts TSI US CRC index moved higher by $4.50 over the week to $2,100.25/st.

Market sources continued noting displaced HDG volumes due to automotive shutdowns but those transactions were not taking place at discounted prices.

“HDG is still the tightest product in the market,” a Midwest service center source said. “If I find HDG availability, it is much easier to find a buyer compared with HRC.”

The service center source said he was able to place orders of HDG with HRC-substrate at $2,100/st and HDG with CRC-substrate at $2,120/st from a Midwest mini-mill for late September production.

Multiple buy-side sources confirmed those levels and some buyers reported HDG with HRC-substrate transactions from the mill as high as $2,140/st.

A southern US mill source anticipated current supply-demand conditions would be sustained through year-end.

“Service center inventories moved up a little last month but they are still low. Imports are rising, but I still think the planned outages cover much of these two issues,” the source said.

The mill source saw supply disruptions the dominating factor for pricing outlook. He started quoting their CRC and HDG availability for October at a minimum of $2,100/st and saw little availability in Q4 as they will run planned outages at the hot strip mill and galvanizing lines.

Another Midwest service center source said he was able to book 300 st of CRC from an integrated mill at $2,100/st.

A third service center source’s transacted level was higher, at $2,140/st for 300 st of October production from a southern mill, and emphasized that those volumes were all that he could get from the mill. He added that he paid the same price for a small-sized order of HDG with HRC-substrate from a Midwest mini-mill.

A Midwest buyer was able to take advantage of displaced automotive volumes from an integrated mill. He reported a transaction of HDG with CRC-substrate at $2,110/st for about 1,000 st from an integrated mill for October production. That price was $20/st above what he paid for a similar-sized order from the mill two weeks prior.

The spread between prices for HDG with HRC-substrate and HRC was at $218.75/st on August 12, according to S&P Global Platts pricing data. Domestic mills continued capturing large premiums for value-added sheet products despite some recent openings related to the auto slowdown.

The combined Platts TSI price index uses a volume-weighted-average calculation – according to TSI’s standard – to determine value on an ex-works Indiana basis.

— Ali Oktay