Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


It was very sad to hear of the passing of John Correnti earlier today. Mr. Correnti at 68 years old still had much to give to the steel industry and his Big River Steel mill will only be but one part of his legacy. The steel industry is buzzing on the news and I have received many texts and emails expressing sympathy for his family and the BRS team he put together. There is much less time to make your mark than we sometimes think. In 68 years Mr. Correnti made a big, lasting impression on this industry and he will be missed.

We saw our first potential “crack” in the antidumping suits as the US Department of Commerce did not find reason for CVD on cold rolled from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. The AD investigation will continue but, it is not a slam dunk that the mills will prevail against all the countries alleged to have dumped steel in the U.S.

I have heard that a number of traders are continuing to take orders from some of the affected countries feeling very strongly that those countries will be cleared of the dumping of countervailing duty allegations.

I have suggested that our readers watch the ATI contract negotiations (and now lockout) very carefully. Do not be surprised if at least one mill (and the rumor mill is it will be US Steel) could potentially lockout their workers if they are not willing to give on some of the line items that the mills have requested.

Earlier today I spoke with the owner of a service center about labor negotiations and how difficult negotiations can be. “When somebody has something it is very hard to take it away,” is what he told me. The unions are in a tough spot. It will be very hard for them to give in easily to the mill demands without at least putting up a fight.

I also have to go back to the owner of a manufacturing company who told me a few days ago, “People don’t strike anymore unless someone draws a line in the sand and forces the issue.”

USS fought the unions in Canada and won (although you might say ultimately they lost as the mills are in bankruptcy and for sale). Will they go toe to toe with the USW this year?

We are in for a very interesting remainder of the summer and through the balance of the year. Expect the unexpected.

For those attending our Steel Summit Conference in Atlanta we are very close to actually selling out the space that we have for the conference. For those who were there last year and can remember the rooms we have added one third more space and it will all be full this year. This is not to say that we can’t squeeze in one or two more people should they want to come… Details are on our website here.

We have added base metals forecasting to this year’s conference. With zinc trading at the lowest levels seen since 2012 Lisa Reisman’s of Metal Miner forecast couldn’t come at a better time.

For those of you interested in our Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals workshop – our next one is October 6-7 which is a great time to be in the lovely state of Iowa. We will tour the SSAB facility located just outside of Davenport, IA where our workshop will be centered. Please contact me if you have any questions. We offer SMU member discounts and more than one person attending discounts. You can reach me at 800-432-3475 or John@SteelMarketUpdate.com

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

John Packard, Publisher

Latest in Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

I’ve had discussions with some of you lately about where and when sheet prices might bottom. Some of you say that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices won’t fall below $800 per short ton (st). Others tell me that bigger buyers aren’t interested unless they can get something that starts with a six. Obviously a lot depends on whether we're talking 50 tons or 50,000 tons. I've even gotten some guff about how the drop in US prices is happening only because we’re talking about it happening.

Final thoughts

We’ve all heard a lot about mill “discipline” following a wave of consolidation over the last few years. That discipline is often evident when prices are rising, less so when they are falling. I remember hearing earlier this year that mills weren’t going to let hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fall below $1,000 per short ton (st). Then not below $900/st. Now, some of you tell me that HR prices in the mid/high-$800s are the “1-800 price” – widely available to regular spot buyers. So what comes next, and will mills “hold the line” in the $800s?