Even with US plate prices declining roughly $100/short ton since May, prices remain above international prices and imports of plate continue to be factor in the US.
Incomplete license import data from the US Census Bureau indicates that August could be the fourth consecutive month of total plate imports in the US reaching 200,000 tonnes.
The plate imports remain elevated despite the fact that Korean plate declined sharply in July and August. As Steel Business Briefing reported this week, pressure is expected to rise on Korean steelmakers to increase export volumes amid an expected decline in shipbuilding plate demand from Korean shipbuilders.
Korea’s shipbuilding sector represents about 70% of the country’s total plate demand.
A re-emergence of Korean plate imports along with continued aggressive Russian plate offers could continue to put pressure on US plate prices.
Domestic spot prices for A36 material are now $990-1,010/s.t, fob mill. The reference price from The Steel Index for A36 plate in the US remained flat this week at $983/s.t fob.
Import offers have been reported in the range of $860-900/s.t, cfr Gulf port.
“The primary threat to the (US) plate market is the current and expected high level of imports,” Steel Reality chief analyst Josh Spoores stated in a research note. “With domestic prices $200+ higher than other foreign markets, the US may continue to become an attractive target for imported plate.”
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