Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


I am in Orlando attending the HARDI annual conference. I will be addressing their sheet metal committee a little later in the week. Also here is Alan Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research (ITR). I look forward to hearing Alan speak both here and at the end of August 2016 when he will once again address our Steel Summit Conference.

Another one of the ITR economists will address our first Leadership Summit Conference which will be held in March at the PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida. We have begun to take reservations for the Leadership Summit which will have restricted attendance. Details are on our website and we will be rolling out more information about the presenters and our program as this week progresses.

In listening to our scrap sources late last week they seem convinced that prices are not only up for December but, prices will be up again in January. One large national dealer told us to expect 1st Quarter prices to be up $40-$50 per gross ton. Other dealers believe there will be a spark to prices but it will be short lived. The key will be if there is growing demand as we move into February and beyond. By then, the trade suits should be having a fairly significant impact on the import numbers and the inventory lying around the ports should be worked down. This is something to watch.

Comment made to me earlier this evening at one of the hospitality suites at this year’s HARDI conference. An executive with one of the wholesalers responded to the question asked in our final thoughts earlier this week with the comment that the market will always respond to supply.

A trading company at the same hospitality suite told us how depressing it has been to have to put out new steel offers every two weeks and the new offers always being lower than the last. They were not yet believers that we have achieved the bottom of the market.

Your comments are welcome: 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?