Boxes are piled high around me as we begin to pack up our office for the move south to our new headquarters in Florida. Excuse our mess as we are trying our best.
We had a good response to our latest flat rolled steel market analysis which was conducted via an online questionnaire over the past four days. Sentiment, lead times and negotiation articles were produced through the results of that questionnaire. We will have more articles on Sunday and our Premium level members will have access to our Power Point presentation tomorrow (Friday). I believe we will also produce another Premium supplemental newsletter tomorrow as well. I think this will be the third Premium issue to come out this week. If you would like to learn more about the differences between Premium and our Executive levels please contact me: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com or 800-432-3475 and I will do my best to answer your questions (and twist your arm)…
Ray Culley and I are working overtime to finish off the program for our first Leadership Conference which will be held at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida (close to our new corporate offices) on March 7-9, 2016. The conference will be a mix of steel, trade, management and other issues. The goal is to put on a quality program for a select few executives and that they be able to leave with actionable materials. More information will be coming out soon but you need to put the dates aside now.
Same goes for next year’s Steel Summit Conference 2016 which will be held at the Georgia International Convention Center (www.GICC.com) with the host hotel being the Atlanta Airport Gateway Hotel located adjacent to the convention center. We are planning on beating this year’s attendance record and we plan on doing that by putting together an exceptional program and networking experience. Plan on arriving on Monday afternoon, August 29th for networking at the Marriott and then attending the conference on Tuesday, August 30th and Wednesday, August 31st before returning home that evening (or staying a day or two to enjoy Atlanta).
As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, Publisher
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Latest in Final Thoughts
What are some “Black Swans” to watch out for? With the war in Ukraine entering its third year, your mind might understandably move to conflicts overseas. Here is one closer to home to consider: US trade relations with Mexico taking a turn for the worse. I mention that because the Office of the United States Trade Representative (USTR) dropped a (virtual) bombshell earlier this month.
Domestic prices have been sliding since the beginning of the year, and I don’t see any obvious reasons why the slide might stop this week. But let’s put the timing of a bottom aside for a minute. The question among some of you seems to be whether we’ll see another price spike, or at least a “dead-cat bounce,” before the typical summer doldrums kick in.
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.
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?
Everyone knows the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. A lot of inked has been spilled trying to figure out why prices are falling now. I thought it might be as simple as this: Market dynamics in the fourth quarter (UAW strike, companies buying ahead of an anticipated post-strike price spike, etc.) pulled forward restocking activity that typically happens in the first quarter.