State of Steel - February 2021

Pricing, Lead Times, and Availability

The CRU index continues to rise and overall, we have seen a 57.6% increase in the steel index since the first week of December and an 98.5% increase since the first week of October 2020. Nucor Tubular and Atlas Tube have once again raised prices on HSS, pipe, mechanical, and piling products by a staggering $150/ton in late January and another $50/ton in February.  All other structural tubing mills have followed suit. This kicks off an eleventh round of price increases since August. As far as mechanical tubing such as DOM and CDS, most mill pricing has increased now 7 times for a total of 47-50% overall since the beginning of October 2020.  Below is a current listing of all price increases we have seen since late August of 2020.  Steel plate prices in the US increased again following domestic mills announced price increases last week. Steel cut-to-length plate is now $1,020/ton, which is more than double the 2020 low price of $500/ton reached in August.  (Source: AMM)


DOM and CDS Price Increases Structural Tube Increases

Oct. 5th – 6% increase

Nov. 9th – 6% increase

Dec. 13th – 7% increase on OD’s below 4” &

10% increase on 4” OD and over

Jan. 4th – 5% increase

Jan. 24th – 10% increase

Feb. 1st – 7% increase

Feb. 23rd - 6% increase






Aug. 26th - $50/ton

Sept. 14th - $50/ton

Sept. 25th - $50/ton

Oct. 13th - $50/ton

Oct. 26th - $50/ton

Nov. 20th - $75/ton

Dec. 4th - $100/ton

Dec. 11th - $100/ton

Jan. 6th - $100/ton

Jan. 20th - $150/ton

Feb. 22nd - $50/ton

Understanding lead times for steel products are important to every participant in the supply chain. Lead times for steel products as of 2/6/21 are:

Hot Rolled Coil lead times declined slightly this week to 9.4 weeks (slightly lower than the 9.8 week all-time high recently reached) versus an average of ~5.0 weeks since 2016. Meanwhile, CRC lead times are at 10.4 weeks, HDG lead times are at 11.2 weeks, and plate lead times are at 9.4 weeks.  (Source: Platts)

Mechanical Tubing is 18-20 weeks given the availability of raw steel coils.

Structural Tubing mill lead times are running approximately 12-14 weeks upon receipt of order.

Dura-Bar Continuous Cast Iron mill lead times are approximately 3-4 weeks. Pricing on all cast iron products is gradually increasing. This can be attributed to higher raw material surcharges and increased costs in freight.  

Metal Production

In the week ended January 30, US raw steel production increased 0.5% week over week to 1.73mt (-9.5% YoY).  US capacity utilization was 76.1% vs 82.4% last year.  This marks a significant improvement from the 51.1% capacity utilization low in early May.  (Source: AISI) 

Imports - Based on preliminary import licenses, steel imports in January were up 42.2% month-over-month on a daily average basis, totaling 1.93 million tons versus 1.36 million tons in December.  (Source: US Department of Commerce)


Detroit kicked off the February scrap trade on Thursday, with mills purchasing: #1 busheling at flat prices month-over-month, shredded scrap at prices down $60/ton month-over-month, and plate/structural scrap at prices down $50/ton month-over-month.  These moves are largely expected (shredded at the lower end of most expected ranges), with the declines marking the first decrease in six months. (Source: AMM)

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