This will be an interesting week as we watch to see how the negotiations between the domestic steel mills and their suppliers end. Expectations are mixed. Late last week we received a note from one of the larger scrap companies in the U.S. They told us, “Generally speaking, obsolete scrap flows have remained tepid in March. While dealers sold fewer tons in March given open contracts for February, inbound obsolete remained constrained as smaller dealers and auto hulk suppliers opted to hold out for higher numbers in April. It would appear that steel imports are slowing and we’re seeing increasing BOF outages, both trends could bode well for EAFs over the next 30-60 days which may firm scrap demand, particularly given current scrap pricing vs. ore-based metallics. I don’t anticipate a major spike in scrap pricing, however, regional pressures may push some grades $10-20/gt higher in selective areas.”
So, we are hearing sideways to as much as up $10 or $20 per gross ton. If correct, this is a net positive for the flat rolled steel industry as firming scrap prices will help maintain steel prices.
If you (or some of your employees) would like to learn more about how steel is produced (including a tour of an EAF mill to see steel being made and rolled), how it is sold and what fundamental issues can (and will) affect prices and the steel markets… Have we got a deal for you: Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals. Our next workshop will be held just outside of Chicago in Merriville, Indiana and will include a tour of the NLMK Indiana steel mill. Registration is open and available on the SMU website or you can contact our office at: 800-432-3475. Discounts are provided for SMU member companies as well as for those sending more than one person to the workshop.
As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, Publisher
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