Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Those of you who know me understand that during my steel sales career I not only worked in the service center segment of the industry but I also represented a domestic steel mill and, during the last five years of my career I also represented two trading companies who were selling foreign steel into the United States. I believe in free trade and, the I believe in fair trade. What is fair and reasonable is a matter which can be debated (and will be debated at our Steel Summit Conference) and we may never come to a consensus of opinion. However, there are times when you have to look at the trading companies and the foreign mills they are representing and scratch your head. The South Koreans are a case in point…

The South Koreans must be very comfortable that the dumping accusations against them will fail as they are shipping steel to the U.S. as though we were their next door neighbors and they have a free pass to use the place whenever the need suits them. The amount of OCTG and other South Korean steel products which will exceed 500,000 net tons in May and is a direct challenge to the existence of the U.S. steel industry. At some point in time you would think that the South Koreans and the trading companies representing them would use some common sense…Don’t you think it would be a little wiser to wait until the dumping suits have been totally put to bed before you start shipping every pound of steel you possibly can?

I have never been one to believe running to Washington, D.C. ever ended up actually helping the steel industry. Maybe politics is the answer for those who don’t understand that you can’t ruin an industry just because you have the ability to do so. We have these (sometimes foolish) buy America laws – why can’t those companies who are drilling on state or public land be required to use OCTG and line pipe produced in the USA (or at least North America)?

Your comments are welcome: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com

We have a couple of spots remaining for our Managing Price Risk II: Strategies & Execution workshop which will be held in Chicago on June 24-25, 2014. More details can be found in the Events section of our website.

We will continue to follow the stories regarding AK Steel and another potential blast furnace issue. I did notice this morning that AK was quoting hot rolled week of July 20th and cold rolled and galvanized at the week of August 3rd.

If you become aware of any production issues at any of the domestic steel mills or, for that matter, have any steel-related information which you think is of importance for the greater steel community to understand, please send it our way. We will do our best to research the issue and find out as much detailed information as possible. You can send information to: info@SteelMarketUpdate.com

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

John Packard, Publisher

I look forward to seeing you in Atlanta on September 3 & 4, 2014

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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.