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US steel sheet prices soften as mills offer more aggressive deals

Pittsburgh — US flat-rolled steel prices edged lower Tuesday as some mills were heard to be offering hot-rolled coil under $900/st.

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The daily Platts TSI US hot-rolled coil assessment was calculated at $902.50/st Tuesday, down 50 cents from Monday, while the daily Platts TSI US cold-rolled coil assessment was calculated at $1,008.75/st, down $3.50/st over the same period.

A US service center source said at least one mini mill producer was offering more aggressive HRC pricing at $880-$890/st, while a second service center source said one mini mill was offering HRC as low as $850/st to fill its August order book.

"The mills are not desperate at this point, but they do need business," the second service center source said. "The opinion in the market in recent weeks has been that HRC is the strongest product, but I think we're already seeing the effects of additional capacity coming back online."

Mills are trying not to let prices sink and have pointed to third quarter outages to support pricing. However the second service center source said additional capacity coming online should offset the pressure caused by outages.

"This could just be a minor correction, but I think $920/st HRC is now a distant memory," he said.

There is nothing in the current market pointing to prices going back up, the first service center source said. He said he was expecting prices to weaken more before hitting a plateau. Many buyers continue to sit on the sidelines waiting to see if prices will fall further, he added.

Some offers for CRC and galvanized substrate have fallen below $1,000/st, however some mills are still trying to hold the line at $1,000/st or above, the second service center source said.

"The mills will try to fight, but if nobody wants to buy, you do what you have to in order to keep the mill full," he said.

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.

--Justine Coyne,

--Edited by Wendy Wells,