This week is Thanksgiving (Thursday) and we are one month away from the Christmas Holidays as well. Here is what our publishing schedule will look like over the next five weeks or so. We will publish on Tuesday of this week and then we will not publish again until the following Tuesday, December 1st. We will continue to follow our normal publishing pattern until we get to the week of Christmas. We will publish on both the Sunday and Tuesday prior to Christmas (December 20 & 22) and we will not publish on Christmas eve (24th). We will publish again the following Tuesday, December 29th and we will not publish on New Year’s Eve (December 31st). We will go back to our normal Sunday, Tuesday, Thursday rotation on Sunday, January 3, 2016.
However, should there be any breaking news that we feel must be covered we will do so in an abbreviated issue.
We began picking up our first registrants for our Leadership Summit which will be held at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. So far those registering or indicating they will be attending are company presidents or corporate executives. If you would like to be added to this select group you can do so online or through our office: 800-432-3475. We will continue to roll out more details in a variety of ways over the next couple of weeks.
We also have registration open for our next Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals workshop which will be held in Starkville, Mississippi on January 19-20, 2015. This workshop will include a tour of the SDI Columbus steel mill and we expect it to be an exceptional program. Registration can be made online or through our office: 800-432-3475.
If you are located in an area known for cold, snow and ice – places like Mississippi (in January) and Florida (in early March) should sound like the place to be. Come join us.
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
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.
What a difference a month makes. There are a few full bulls left in the room, but their numbers are dwindling. We’ll release results of our full steel market survey tomorrow afternoon. I took a sneak peak at the data on Thursday. And more people than I expected think that US hot-rolled (HR) coil prices will be in the $700s per short ton (st) two months from now. Vanishingly few think prices will be above $1,000/st in mid-April.