U.S. Steel Corp. (X) outlined its earnings earlier this week, while providing a few nuggets on the steel company’s outlook for Q1 2013.
- According to company spokesmen, steel buyers are continuing to exhibit caution early in this year, and they suggest that early spot demand is healthy; average spot prices will be higher than in the fourth quarter, but this will take time.
- USS expects raw material costs -- coking coal, etc. -- to be lower for their flat-rolled steel operations in the upcoming year. Coal costs should, on average, come out to be 20% less over the course of the year compared to 2012.
- In terms of a flat-rolled market demand outlook: Automotive -- 2012 NAFTA vehicle production was up 18% year over year; 15.5 to 15.7 million units are projected to be produced in 2013. Appliances -- not as good (Q4 appliance unit shipments down 1% versus 2011; full year shipments 2% lower in 2012; producers have been rather mum on 2013 outlook, although it’s been reported that Whirlpool, for one, sees ”an improving U.S. housing market and sales growth opportunities in developing overseas markets [as] providing momentum for a recovery.” Construction -- U.S. residential market, i.e. housing starts, looking up in 2013.
The biggest mover on the weekly Raw Steels MMI® was the steel billet cash price, which saw a 7.8% decline on the LME to $260.00 per metric ton. This comes on the heels of a 0.7% increase the week before.
The three-month price of steel billet fell to $265.00 per metric ton on the LME, a 7% change from the prior week.
For the third week in a row, the spot price of the U.S. HRC futures contract dropped, falling 1.4% to $624.00 per short ton. The three-month price of the U.S. HRC futures contract rose 0.5% to $648.00 per short ton after falling 0.8% during the previous week.
The week finished with no movement for U.S. shredded scrap.
prices were mixed for the week. The high and low price of iron ore 58% fines from India were down just slightly. The price of Chinese slab rose 1% after falling 0.5% during the previous week.
Closing out the third week of rising prices, the price of Chinese HRC also increased by 1%. Chinese coking coal traded sideways last week.
prices were mixed for the week. The price of Korean steel scrap fell 4.1% after rising 4.3% the week before. Prices for Korean pig iron remained constant, however.
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