The difference between auto industry and steel industry: the UAW has issue a notice to GM that they could walk out at midnight tonight (Sunday) if they don’t have a contract. The USW is content to work under the old contract for as long as they can get away with it since both US Steel and ArcelorMittal are trying to gain concessions. Automotive companies know now is not the time to shut down profitable businesses. Steel mills haven’t quite figured out what they need to do to survive until the next up pricing cycle. The USW and US Steel go back to the negotiation table this week.
We are asked quite often what the difference is between our Executive or regular newsletter and website access versus that of our Premium level members. We produced a number of Premium supplemental issues last week covering such topics as: Global Steel Production & Capacity Utilization for September, US Vehicle Sales & NAFTA Vehicle Production for September, a special analysis of Service Center Intake, Shipments & Inventory for September (including long products & plate), Industrial Production & Capacity Utilization where our analysis showed a slowing manufacturing sector (although growth is still positive).
Last week we also produced our Imports by Product, Port of Entry and Country which allows our Premium members to see what countries are penetrating their local markets and what changes are happening to the trend for each country.
We also produced our Flat Rolled Steel Market Analysis (survey) Power Point presentation. We produce this special analysis twice per month and our presentations get rave reviews from both the financial community as well as the general steel community. For those of you on an Executive level membership you can see an example of what one of our Power Point presentations looks like by clicking on this link (or going to our Analysis tab and selecting Full Survey Results Sample from the menu in the drop down screen.
If you are interested in learning more about Premium services please contact me in my office: 800-432-3475 or by email: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com.
A reminder that our next Steel 101 workshop will be held in Starkville, Mississippi (Columbus, MS area) on January 19-20, 2016. This workshop will include a tour of the SDI Columbus steel mills. Details are on our website or you can click on this link.
Thank you again for your business which is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, Publisher
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Latest in Final Thoughts
A clear consensus has emerged among respondents to SMU’s latest steel market survey that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices will bottom this month or in April. Seventy-five percent of respondents to our latest survey think that prices will find a floor before May as the chart below shows:
I want to give a big shoutout to the good folks at the Fabricators and Manufacturers Association (FMA) for inviting me to their annual conference this week in Clearwater, Fla. I also want to give a special thanks to the FMA for awarding SMU founder John Packard with a lifetime achievement award – on that also gave me a chance to catch up with my old boss in person.
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.