Feb 14, 2022 - Economy & Business

Steel prices hit lowest level in a year

Data: Factset; Chart: Axios Visuals

After hitting record highs last year, U.S. steel prices are now rolling over fast, a possible sign of light at the end of the inflation tunnel.

Why it matters: Prices for commodities — which are key contributors to the current inflationary surge — typically filter into consumer prices over time.

The big picture: The decline in steel prices is a good signal that lower car prices could be in the cards later this year, since much of the hot-rolled steel coils produced in the U.S. are stamped into auto bodies.

  • That could have huge implications for inflation (and offset some of those higher rents Emily wrote about). New and used vehicle prices were the second-largest contributor to January's 7.5% annual surge in the Consumer Price Index.

By the numbers: Benchmark futures prices for U.S. hot-rolled coils of steel hit $1,135 on Friday, the lowest level in a year. They're down more than 40% from their peak of nearly $2,000 in August.

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