Rebar and flat rolled prices declined in April as a consequence of cumulative effects from the COVID-19 pandemic, and, by extension, containment policies.
Automotive industry shutdowns across the globe have weakened both flat rolled steel demand and prices. In the construction sector, projects have either stalled or continued, but financing, credit insurance, and cash flow setbacks have threatened is supply chain.
Rebar is presently priced at $29/ctw ($580/nt, $639/mt) fob US mill, with $28/ctw ($560/nt, $617/mt) possible for larger buys. Rebar had been flat at $30-31/ctw ($600-620/nt, $661-683/mt) over for the three weeks preceding April 6; prices subsequently declined by $44/mt over the course of the month.
Imported shipments on the East Coast (via Houston) were $28.25-29.0/ctw ($565-580/nt, $623-639/mt) ddp loaded truck at pier. Imports have declined by $50/mt and are now at $573-589/mt.
Market participants in the South—and in proximity to Mexico—face stronger competition from Mexican mills. A market participant told Davis Index that four or five mill groups have aggressively sought rebar placement west of the Mississippi River with special concentration in Texas and the western regions. Mexican mills have continued purchasing scrap for melting, as they are net importers of scrap, but have faced persistent peso devaluation.
Credit insurance has also tightened, lowering limits and increasing scrutiny on companies’ financials. Few traders and distributors can take import from destinations such as Turkey in the current environment. With internal credit departments, along with competitive pricing and rapid delivery, domestic rebar sourcing is, currently, buyers’ preference. Several buyers stated that uncertainty is remains a defining factor.