SMU Data and Models

SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index Continues to Trend Higher

Written by John Packard

The situation at US Steel Great Lakes, and now Gary Works, has not bridled the enthusiasm which has been growing within the flat rolled steel markets. We are seeing buyers and sellers of flat rolled steel continuing to be optimistic about their company’s ability to be successful in both today’s market as well as three to six months out into the future. Steel Market Update (SMU) announced the results of our SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index for early April at +43, which is well within the optimistic range for our index.

The current reading of +43 is unchanged from two weeks ago but is up 6 points from one month ago. Sentiment was measured at +21 during the 1st week of April 2013.

The Current Sentiment Index three month moving average (3MMA) is +41, which is the same as two weeks ago and 1 point higher than one month ago. Our Sentiment Index has been trending higher from the +38.33 we reported at the beginning of the New Year.

Future Sentiment, which measures how buyers and sellers of steel see their company’s ability to be successful three to six months into the future, was measured at +65 which is the highest reading ever reported for the Futures segment of our Index.  The +65 is up 3 points from our last survey and is up 14 points from one month ago. This time last year it was +34.

Our index suggests the flat rolled steel markets should continue to improve and the recent rise in prices are being seen as an overall positive to the market.

What Respondents Were Reporting

During the survey process we provide the respondents an opportunity to make comments. Here are some from this portion of the survey process:

A manufacturing company told us, “We are still waiting for the effects of winter to wear off. Optimism is there!”

Another manufacturing company located in Canada told us, “Weather is clearing up, although frozen ground is still an issue. Steel pricing is going up which should support price increases.”

A third manufacturing company reported, “I believe non residential construction’s increased activity puts our manufactured product in a positive position for increased sales.”

While yet another manufacturing company left us, “March was flat due to weather, cold in NE and rain in south”

About the SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Indices

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 slightly less than 600 North American companies to participate in our survey. Our normal response rate is approximately 110-170 companies. Of those responding to this week’s survey, 54 percent were manufacturing companies (up 10 percent from the 44 percent reported in our last survey) and 33 percent were service centers/distributors (down 7 percent from the 40 percent reported in our last survey). The balance of our respondents are made up of steel mills, trading companies and toll processors involved in the steel business.

Below is an interactive graph of our Sentiment Index (open white space if you are not on our website). In order to see and manipulate the graph you will need to be logged into the SMU website. If you need assistance with your login or how to maneuver around the website please feel free to contact us at: 800-432-3475.

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

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