The spike in most flat steel commodities that came with the Russian invasion of Ukraine combined with the loss of pig iron capacity in the Ukraine is easing. The easing is related to global demand which is cooling and some relaxation of US government imposed tariffs on partner countries in Europe. Prices are still significantly above fourth quarter 2021 levels. The market consensus from earlier this spring that a $1200 per ton floor has been baked into US prices is appearing more and more likely by fourth quarter 2022.
The steel rod market has just recently made a small shift lower after many months of increase. Steel rod continued to climb in price without stopping since September 2020. It now appears that a slight softening trend is developing, although at a much small pace than flat materials.
Supply for common steel products is now stable. Certain items remain sparse to, at times out of stock nonetheless. This includes chrome quality steel for tubing, high carbon steel, and special gage tolerance steel to name a few.
Aluminum has followed a similar trend line to flat steel. Prices surged following the Russian invasion of Ukraine and have now broke into a descending trend. Midwest prices, while declining, are still well above 2021 Q4 levels.
Stainless steel has begun to moderate in price slightly after reaching surcharges of nearly $2.00/lb. on top of base price increases leveled late in 2021. The surcharge still remains about $0.50/lb. higher than 2021 Q4. Lower quality grades such as 200 and 400 series remain difficult, if not impossible to procure domestically. We are presently relying on foreign mills for 400 series stainless which adds cost well beyond surcharge levels.