Steel Products

SMU Survey: How Soon Before Supply Overtakes Demand?

Written by John Packard

Written by: John Packard

In what might be perceived to be a positive for the domestic steel industry, the steel buyers and sellers responding to the latest SMU steel market survey believe the domestic mills have at least 30 days if not longer before the current price cycle is broken. We asked those responding to our online questionnaire if they felt the additional supply being brought back by AK Steel and ThyssenKrupp would impact pricing.  As you can see from the bar graph below all market segments believe there will be a return to an over-supply position in the marketplace.




SMU sources are reporting that the AK Steel blast furnace is back to “normal” operations and the mill is in the process of catching up on orders.  SMU learned earlier this week that AK expects to catch up on hot rolled orders by the end of August while cold rolled would take until the end of September. Based on information we received from our ThyssenKrupp sources the Alabama facility should have their slab inventories back to normal by the end of August. 

This led us to inquire with our respondents as to what point will the current “Rising” market price cycle reverse course and prices begin to falter? We specifically requested during what month will we see mill offers for future delivery reference falling prices. What we found is the majority of our respondents believe prices will not begin to falter until September or October – this means hot rolled deliveries in mid to late October into November and coated products closer to late November or December.



Earlier during the survey process we asked where spot prices for hot rolled benchmark coil would be once we reached September 1st.  Here are what our respondents, of which 49 percent were manufacturing companies and 41 percent were distributors, had to say on the subject:



 On Tuesday of this week, SMU published our hot rolled range as being $620-$670 per ton.


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