I always learn new things every time I attend an industry related conference. I find being exposed to industry experts, active steel buyers in one location (with very few to no suppliers around), business owners who feel comfortable in their surroundings, and a few cocktails thrown into the mix, makes for interesting times. I highly recommend that you attend your specific industry conferences (as well as the SMU Steel Summit Conference in September) if you would like to learn something new about your industry, customers or suppliers.
I learned that part of the surge in galvanized imports that we saw in October and November was due to companies protecting themselves against the rumored flat rolled dumping suits which circulated the industry over the summer months. Many of the larger wholesalers and manufacturing companies who are associated with HARDI told SMU that they have protected themselves by buying foreign steel to last them into March and in some cases as far out as May 2015.
This, in turn, has led to lower priced foreign light gauge galvanized offers being made over the past week as the international mills realized that their steady flow of orders has been interrupted. SMU assumes the phenomena also pertains to other industry groups which use either cold rolled or coated products (the two products that were tied to possible trade action).
If this is true, we should anticipate fewer tons arriving in January, February and March 2015.
If this is true there will also be fewer tons that might have gone to the domestic mills during 1st Quarter 2015 (rumors have a way of shooting you in the foot sooner or later). The wholesalers confirmed to SMU, as I held one-on-one chats, that their inventories tended to be a little on the heavy side, which has put them on the sidelines and out of the spot market at this moment.
At the same time the wholesalers and a number of the manufacturing companies that service the wholesalers with furnace pipe and other products, are reporting their businesses as being much better than what they were seeing last year. There was a definite sense of optimism around the conference meeting areas and the host hotel.
However, the complaints of tight margins continued – especially on galvanized steel and related products.
SMU will be working on a deeper analysis of the import numbers early next week when we publish our Imports by Product, Port and Country data for our Premium Level members.
After I spoke at the sheet metal committee meeting at HARDI on Sunday, I had a couple of company owners approach me to upgrade their memberships from Executive to Premium. This was due to my use of some of the Premium data (Service Center Apparent Excess/Deficit Inventory Forecast and our price forecast which is associated with that data for Premium members) which Executive members don’t get to see on a regular basis. If you would like to learn more (or be switched to Premium), please contact our office and we can tell you what the upgrade will cost your company. Note: if you buy it and don’t like it we will switch you back to Executive and we will refund the extra you were charged).
We are quickly moving toward the Holidays. If you are interested in sending someone to our next Steel 101 workshop in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina please contact our office so we can reserve the space, answer any questions you might have and (hopefully) take payment. Registration can also be done on the website. Our office number is 800-432-3475 or you can reach us at: info@SteelMarketUpdate.com.
I will be in the office on Wednesday. I am traveling on Thursday and Friday as we are conducting our first full day custom sales training program with a service center in Louisiana. I will be in the office all week next week (thank you) before we head to Chicago for the Holidays.
A warm welcome to those of you who are new to Steel Market Update. Please do not hesitate to contact us should you have any questions. You can reach us at: info@SteelMarketUpdate.com or by phone: 800-432-3475 (706-216-5440).
As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, Publisher
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