Steel Plate Stability: US Market Adapts to Demand Fluctuations and Labour tensions
Steel Plate Stability: US Market Adapts to Demand Fluctuations and Labour tensions

Steel Plate Stability: US Market Adapts to Demand Fluctuations and Labour tensions

  • 10-Jun-2024 6:33 PM
  • Journalist: Jai Sen

The US spot market for Steel Plate witnessed stability in prices with a bearish tone during the 4th and 5th weeks, driven by prevailing market sentiments and a slight decline in demand. This trend reflects the ongoing dynamics in the Steel Plate market. Despite this, production levels showed a modest increase, reflecting resilience in the Steel Plate sector. American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) data indicated a rise in crude steel production to approximately 1.73 million net tons, with a capacity utilization rate of 77.8% during the 4th week and an increase to around 1.74 million net tons with a utilization rate of 78.1% in the 5th week. This positive production trend aligns with the sector's efforts to meet market demands for Steel Plate efficiently.

Recent developments from the US Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS) introduced a revised Section 232 exclusions process for steel and aluminium imports effective July 1, 2024. The objective is to enhance fairness and transparency within the Steel industry by eliminating 12 General Approved Exclusions. This strategic move aims to level the playing field for Steel Plate producers in the US, signalling a shift in the regulatory landscape that could impact Steel Plate market dynamics positively.

However, challenges have emerged for a key player in the Steel Plate industry as ArcelorMittal Mexico faced disruptions in Steel Plate production due to a "protest" and blockade outside its Lazaro Cardenas mill in Michoacan. Dissatisfied members of the Sindicato Minero union obstructed access to the Steel mill, prompting ArcelorMittal to halt blast furnace operations to prioritize safety and risk management. Amidst profit-sharing disputes, the union set a strike date of June 11, highlighting labour tensions in the Steel Plate sector.

In the raw materials realm, prices have exhibited varied movements. Iron ore and pig iron prices slightly increased month on month, contrasting with a notable 10% surge in zinc prices. Busheling scrap prices remained stable, while shredded scrap, coking coal, and aluminium experienced modest monthly declines. Despite these fluctuations, the sector continues to navigate cost dynamics while aiming for sustainable operations and growth of the Steel Plate market.

On the automotive front, the Light Vehicle Seasonally Adjusted Annualized Sales (SAAR) for May 2024 stood at 16.08 million units, showcasing a significant uptick from the previous year. New vehicle sales in the US rose by 8.8% in May, led by a notable increase in SUV and truck sales compared to passenger cars. This sales trend denotes evolving consumer preferences and market dynamics in the automotive sector, mirroring broader economic shifts impacting Steel Plate consumption and production in the US.

Overall, the US Steel Plate market demonstrates resilience amidst evolving regulatory frameworks, labour disputes, and shifting demand patterns across key industrial sectors, underscoring the sector's adaptability and strategic responses to multifaceted challenges and opportunities for Steel Plate.

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