SMU Data and Models

Optimism Improving According to SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index

Written by John Packard

Buyers and sellers of flat rolled steel entered the New Year in very high spirits. Our Steel Market Update (SMU) Steel Buyers Sentiment Index was measured at +42 which is the most optimistic level recorded since March 1, 2012 (+45).

The rolling three month moving average (3MMA) came in at +38.33 which is a one point improvement from the last reading in mid-December and is +19.50 points better than the first week of January 2013.

Buyers and sellers of carbon sheet are reporting to Steel Market Update that they are undeterred by the cold weather and continue to be optimistic that, once past seasonal changes, business conditions may well be much better than people realize.

“Based on holidays and weather, things are fairly quiet but we do anticipate improved activity over the next week to ten days,” said one service center executive. He went on to state,” I think demand will be a positive surprise.”

A manufacturing company associated with the construction industry told us during the survey process, “Will slow down a little because of the weather – but should remain good.”

According to Steel Market Update (SMU) price indices, flat rolled steel prices have been very stable over the past 30 days. This stability allows for optimism to build within the industry as inventories are not losing value.

“The winter weather has put a damper on business so far in January, this is typical in our business,” is what another manufacturing company told us. They reported to SMU during the survey process, “…demand is evidently better than most expected. I think this will help stabilize prices in the short term. I think a correction is coming in the next 30-60 days.”

SMU Steel Buyers Future Sentiment was measured at +55 up 2 points from our last survey. Future Sentiment measures how people feel about their company’s ability to be successful 3 to 6 months in the future.

Below is an interactive graphic of the SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index. It can be viewed when logged into the website (otherwise it is just blank white space). If you need help logging into the website please contact us at: and we will re-set your user name and password and walk you through the process.

{amchart id=”109″ SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index}

About the SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index

SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index is a measurement of the current attitude of buyers and sellers of flat rolled steel products in North America regarding how they feel about their company’s opportunity for success in today’s market. It is a proprietary product developed by Steel Market Update for the North American steel industry.

Positive readings will run from + 10  to + 100 and the arrow will point to the right hand side of the meter located on the Home Page of our website indicating a positive or optimistic sentiment.

Negative readings will run from -10 to -100 and the arrow will point to the left hand side of the meter on our website indicating negative or pessimistic sentiment.

A reading of “0” (+/- 10) indicates a neutral sentiment (or slightly optimistic or pessimistic) which is most likely an indicator of a shift occurring in the marketplace.

Readings are developed through Steel Market Update market surveys which are conducted twice per month. We display the index reading on a meter on the Home Page of our website for all to enjoy.

Currently we send invitations to approximately 600 North American companies to participate in our survey. Our normal response rate is approximately 120-170 companies. Of those responding to this week’s survey, 42 percent were manufacturing companies (down from the 50 percent participation rate in our last survey), 45 percent were service centers/distributors (39 percent in mid-December analysis) and the balance was made up of steel mills, trading companies and toll processors involved in the steel business.

Steel Market Update does canvass those being invited to participate in order to confirm their active participation in the flat rolled steel business. Our list is updated at least once per month and we are adding new companies on a continuous basis.

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