Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Steel Market Update is beginning to see weakness in demand based on the results of our last two flat rolled steel market surveys. The manufacturing companies are the first to report the weakness and service centers are beginning to follow. Our Premium (and free trial) level members can review the Power Point presentation that we placed on the website on Friday. The latest Power Point is under the Analysis tab (must be logged in to view). We will have an article on this subject on Tuesday as we follow up the survey with one-on-one discussions with buyers.

U.S. Steel is the next mill to report earnings. They release numbers after the market closes on October 28th and their earnings conference call will be held the following day. I expect they will address the situation at USS Lake Erie Works and Hamilton Works in Canada (former Stelco plants). They did reach a new contract agreement with the Hamilton union and the union has ratified the contract.

Speaking of Canadian mills – SMU communicated with Essar Steel Algoma late last week regarding the status of their blast furnace which is not running. We were told the furnace is tentatively scheduled to come back online in 2015 depending on market conditions.

I will be in the office on Monday through Wednesday of this week and then I will travel to Las Vegas to cover the Association of Steel Distributors (ASD) meeting and will return to my office on Monday, November 3rd.

I will be in New York City speaking at the Cowen & Company conference (Wednesday, November 12th) and then I go to the AWMI Conference in Savannah, Georgia on the 14th and 15th of the month.

Just a reminder, we will conduct another Steel 101: Introduction to Steelmaking & Market Fundamentals workshop on January 20 & 21, 2015 in Mount Pleasant, SC (just outside of Charleston). The workshop will include a tour of the Nucor Berkeley steel mill. Registration is open and available online or through our offices: 800-432-3475.

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update. Now we are rewarding those who refer new business for our newsletter. Any company who refers a customer who purchases a Steel Market Update newsletter subscription will receive a $100 credit (per company) which can be used on any workshop, conference or for renewal/expansion of your membership. The credit will need to be used within 12 months of being issued. So, now you have another reason to go tell your friends, suppliers and customers about SMU.

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.