US sheet service centers talking about strong demand despite record prices

US sheet service centers continued to cite robust demand levels from customers April 8 despite hot-rolled coil prices hovering near record highs.

The daily Platts TSI US HRC index increased by $1 to $1,345.75/st and remains around an all-time high.

“A lot of service centers are saying they had a record month in March,” one buy-side source said. “They doubt the same will happen in April as they have very low inventories now.”

He referred to the inventory resale prices as “incredible,” adding that it’s almost like service centers are trying to price their inventories not to sell.

Mills were offering HRC at $1,340-$1,380 with a converter at the low end and an integrated mill at the high end, according to the buy-side source.

Two other buyers confirmed the low end of prices available from the converter at $1,340 based on recent offers from the mill.

“Inquiry rate from end-users is steady. We are still not able to accept most of those inquiries. We do not have enough steel,” one service center source said.

He recently had paid $1,360 for 200 st from a converter with a late-May lead time.

“It seems like the coil will be tight in the spot market for another two months at least,” the service center source said.

A mill source said June spot negotiations were beginning with prices at a minimum of $1,350 and demand remains strong.

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.

— Michael Fitzgerald