The latest £50 a tonnes rise in January has left steelwork contractors reeling and means that the price of structural steel has soared from around £500 a tonne this summer to over £700 a tonne.
The speed of the rise is unprecedented and has been blamed on sharp rises in raw material costs, quotas and scrap availability, which has also pushed rebar prices through the roof in the concrete frame sector.
The UK’s other major producer Arcelor has been shadowing the rises over the period and is also putting up its prices this month.
Recent spate of increases
£/ tonne rise: July +£30; August +£30; Nov +£40, Dec +£80; Jan +£50
One small steel fabricator told the Enquirer: “Further price increase of £50 per tonne on top of the £80 per tonne issued before Christmas is going to cripple the construction market.
“The government has said right through the pandemic that construction must continue to keep the economy moving, how the hell is that going to work with all these increases.”
Another firm said: “We’ve not seen anything like this since 2004. The fear is this is not the last of it.”