According to MEPS International’s US hot rolled coil benchmark selling figure increased almost 4% in January. There has been a pick up in market activity and transaction values are likely to go even higher. Recent mill announcements of price increases should be implemented in the near term. Moreover, improving economic data should support the increases.

Plate prices have strengthened since the holidays, with delivery lead times extending to five/six weeks. End-user demand is steady. Distributors and fabricators are enjoying brisk activity levels.

US mills’ proposals for higher transaction values for cold rolled coil have succeeded. Selling prices increased by approximately 3% in January, month on month, continuing the positive tendency. Forecasts for 2012 auto sales are encouraging and coated steel demand from that sector remains buoyant. The price advances planned for January were accepted, with mills signalling further increases for February.

An upturn in US steel consumption is envisaged for the first two quarters of this year. Higher raw material expenditure, should also add to the upward movement in selling figures in this period.