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U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal raising steel prices

Steel coils sits outside ArcelorMittal in Riverdale in 2012.

U.S. Steel and ArcelorMittal have been raising steel prices of late.

Both steelmakers, two of Northwest Indiana's largest employers, have raised flat-rolled steel prices three times in less than a month.

U.S. Steel has increased prices by $110 a ton since Oct. 25, and is now charging a target price of $590 for hot-rolled steel and $790 a ton for cold-rolled coil and hot-dipped galvanized, according to the trade publication Argus Metals. ArcelorMittal has boosted prices to $600 a ton for hot-rolled steel and $810 a ton for cold-rolled coil and hot-dipped galvanized.

Steel production in the United States is up 2.3% so far this year, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute. But low steel prices have hammered steelmakers financially, with U.S. Steel losing $84 million and ArcelorMittal $539 million in the third quarter.

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It's taken a toll on Northwest Indiana, where U.S. Steel is idling East Chicago Tin and Blast Furnace No. 8 at Gary Works, resulting in about 150 layoffs. ArcelorMittal is idling Blast Furnace No. 3 at ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor in East Chicago.

Steel prices have been depressed because of a number of factors, including sagging demand from automakers after four straight years of more than 17 million units sold, record imports of appliances, a slowdown in the manufacturing sector, and stagnant spending on construction and infrastructure.

The steel price tracking service Steelbenchmarker reported that as of the week of Nov. 11 hot-rolled band was selling for an average $557 a ton in the United States, cold-rolled coil for $775 and standard plate for $650 a ton.

Standard plate prices fell 14%, cold-rolled coil prices ticked up by 2%, and hot-rolled band prices were flat.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.