State of Steel - April 2021


Pricing and Lead Times Continue to Pile Up


Due to continued steel coil shortages, pricing continues to be on the rise. With a weak supply of coil, an increased cost in scrap and trucking, we are seeing a real disruption in both pricing and lead times. The CRU index continues to rise and overall, we have seen a 76.6% increase in the steel index since the first week of December and a 122.5% increase since the first week of October 2020. This marks the 6th month in a row that the CRU index has increased.  Nucor Tubular and Atlas Tube have once again raised prices on HSS, pipe, mechanical, and piling products by another $125/ton in mid-March and now $100/ton in mid-April. All other structural tubing mills have followed suit. This kicks off the 13th round of price increases since August. With regards to DOM, most mill pricing has increased 9 times for a total of 57-60% overall since the beginning of October 2020. Below is a current listing of all price increases on tubing that we have seen since late August of 2020. 

Hot-rolled coil prices again hit an all-time high this week, with Fastmarkets’ assessing prices at the highest level in the 61 years they have been tracking prices. Hot-rolled special bar quality (SBQ) steel prices in the US increased to $1,020/ton (up 16% month-over-month) due to rapid increases in demand and higher raw material costs. (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

Mar. 25th – 5% increase

Apr. 16th - 5% 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

Mar. 10th - $125/ton

Apr. 13th - $100/ton

Lead Times

Understanding lead times for steel products are important to every participant in the supply chain. Lead times for steel products as of 4/6/21 are:

HRC lead times were unchanged this week at 9.0 weeks versus an average of ~5.3 weeks since 2016. Meanwhile, CRC lead times are at 10.5 weeks, HDG lead times are at 11.3 weeks, and plate lead times are at 8.9 weeks. (Source: Platts)

DOM Tubing is anywhere from 20-34 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 2-5 weeks depending on size and grade. Pricing on all cast iron products is gradually increasing. This can be attributed to higher raw material surcharges and an increased cost of freight.  

Metal Production

In the week ended March 20, US raw steel production decreased 0.5% week-over-week to 1.75mt (+0.7% YoY). US capacity utilization was 77.3% vs 75.3% last year. This marks a significant improvement from the 51.1% capacity utilization low in early May 2020.  (Source: AISI) 

The World Steel Association reported global crude steel production in February increased 2.0% month-over-month on a daily average basis (up 7.8% year-over-year on a daily average basis) to 150.2 million tons. (Source: World Steel Association)

Nucor has disclosed that Gallatin, Kentucky will be the site of its planned new tubular mill. The facility is expected to be operational by the middle of 2023 and will have a capacity of 250 thousand tons. The strategic location makes sense because the tube mill will be located near Nucor’s Gallatin sheet mill. (Source: AMM)


Exporters are reducing scrap buying prices on lower-priced export sales on the West Coast and a lack of activity on the East Coast. (Source: AMM)

Current expectations are for shredded scrap prices to decline $10/ton month-over-month, while prime scrap prices are expected to be flat to up $40/ton month-over-month. (Source: Platts)

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