Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Today is the last day of the month and the last day of the 3rd Quarter 2014. According to one of the attorney’s who spoke at our Steel Summit Conference at the beginning of September today is the day that the domestic mills would want to file a dumping suit so they would not have to include all of the 3rd Quarter data should they wait until 4Q to file. I don’t know how much of an inconvenience or how costly it is to produce the 3rd Quarter data but it would make sense that if the filing is ready and the mills are committed to filing dumping suits that they would be entered today. So, we are watching carefully to see if anything is happening and so far, as of late this afternoon, we are not aware of any suits being filed.

As I spoke with large hot rolled buyers one pointed out that the domestic mills don’t really need to lower prices much lower than were they currently are as the foreign offers have actually gotten more expensive. Hot rolled coil is being offered around $610 per ton Houston. The spread for a large tonnage buyer is no more than $30 to $50 per ton which is not enough to justify waiting for the steel or the possible other risks associated with buying foreign steel.

We heard from one of the service centers in New England that cold rolled and coated offers out of China and India have dried up due to the threat of dumping suits. However, others such as the Brazilians have gotten more competitive and the domestic mills have a $50 to $60 per ton freight disadvantage against material coming out of the ports.

One of our scrap sources told us late today that one of the southern mills made buys at down $10 (primes) and down $15 (shred) per gross ton. The expectation had been for southern scrap prices to trend sideways. We learned there are a large number of maintenance outages which is impacting the number of tons being purchased. All of the domestic mills canceled their open September orders (except SSAB Iowa who canceled truck shipments but allowed rail to continue). The market should shake out by early next week but, as one of our scrap sources stated this evening, “The blood is in the water.”

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here 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.