Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

 I was asked a number of times today – in a couple of different ways – why Steel Market Update has not adjusted our Price Momentum Indicator from Neutral where it has been for about one month to Lower. The reality is we have been watching spot flat rolled pricing quite closely to see at what point would we start to see a wholesale movement toward lower prices.

There are some unusual circumstances with the current market in that you have two mills: US Steel and ArcelorMittal who have lost, or continue to lose, significant amounts of raw steel production due to both planned and unplanned outages. We also had the ice situation on Lake Superior and around Saute Ste Marie that has impacted iron ore shipments and we are hearing that Essar Steel Algoma is only now offering some spot tonnage into the U.S. for August delivery.

On the flip side AK Steel has caught up with their order book and evidently has a large amount of slab in inventory. We are hearing that NLMK USA may also have some extra slab in stock.

As one former trading company executive put it to us earlier today, “Everyone should be enjoying this pricing environment and taking advantage of the orders they can get at today’s price levels.”

Watch our website and blog as we are evaluating what we are going to do with our Price Momentum Indicator and could make a change at any moment.

The talk is hot and heavy that there will be new dumping suits filed, perhaps as early as right after the oil country tubular good (OCTG) trade cases are resolved in July. The expectation is there will be suits filed on cold rolled and coated.

We are preparing for this to be an important topic of conversation at our September 3 & 4 SMU Steel Summit Conference in Atlanta. We spoke with one attorney today who has tentatively committed to speak at our conference on the topic and we are working on a counter party to his position. We hope everyone is planning on attending what we believe will be one of the strongest conference programs available anywhere.

Be aware that we are building the Steel Summit web pages on our website so you might see some oddities (like under our schedule tab) as we build out each section. Even so, our registration page is working and you are welcome to register for the conference.

We are also getting close to selling out our Managing Price Risk II: Strategies and Execution workshop in Chicago on June 24 & 25, 2014. I was speaking with the president of a service center who had attended our Managing Price Risk I workshop in New York City a couple of years ago. Since then he has not made a trade due to not being sure what he should be doing and hearing the horror stories from others who made ill-advised trades and were burned in the process.

The key is to understand what you are trying to accomplish and then executing the proper strategy. That is what our Managing Price Risk II workshop is about.

I hope to see you in New York City in the middle of this month, Chicago the following week and then Atlanta on September 3 & 4.

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, Publisher

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Final thoughts

Last week was a newsy one for the US sheet market. Nucor’s announcement that it would publish a weekly HR spot price was the talk of the town – whether that was in chatter among colleagues, at the Boy Scouts of America Metals Industry dinner, or in SMU’s latest market survey. Some think that it could Nucor's spot HR price could bring stability to notoriously volatile US sheet prices, according to SMU's latest steel market survey. Others think it’s too early to gauge its impact. And still others said they were leery of any attempt by producers to control prices.