Spot hot rolled coil prices in the US Midwest market fell to a near 12-year low during November as seller woes continued despite recent action by domestic steelmakers against perceived unfair trade activity. Whilst the flow of imports steadily slows each month, a glut of domestic steel and shortening delivery lead-times continue to negatively weigh on prices, said The Steel Index in a snippet.
After hot rolled coil (HRC) prices breached the $400 a short ton floor in late October, November spot prices plummeted a further $29 a short ton FOB Midwest Mill over a four-week period to $364 a short ton.
Seller woes continued throughout the month despite recently filed trade action against foreign imports. The move was initially thought to bolster sentiment for domestic steel producers in the short-term, but this failed to materialise.
The resulting fall saw spot prices hit new record lows—last month the index was the lowest since 2009, while this month prices were at the lowest point since January 2004.
The Metals Service Center Institute (MSCI) showed that service center inventories slipped below the 9 million short ton mark for the first time since July 2014, falling 4.2% compared to the same period last year.
At current shipping rates, inventories at service centers represent 2.7 months of supply, broadly consistent with the levels seen throughout 2015.
Unsurprisingly, the dialling down of production levels accelerated in November as crude steel capacity utilisation slid to its lowest point since January 2010 according to data released by the American Iron & Steel Institute (AISI). The final week of November saw utilisation fall to 62.2%, 13.4% lower than the same period last year.
However, preliminary AISI data showed a boun