Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

We will conduct our mid-December flat rolled steel market analysis (survey) beginning on Monday of this week. If you are on the invite list, please take a few moments to click on the link (button) and respond to our online questionnaire. If you were on the invite list in the past and for some reason you are no longer receiving your invitations, please contact and he will check to make sure there are no issues or will assist you in white-listing the email which comes from servers.

The invitations will go out at 8 AM ET tomorrow (Monday).

I mentioned it earlier in our Comparison Price Indices article: the relationship between CRU and SMU is being terminated by CRU management in London. We will no longer be allowed to display the CRU weekly indices on hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanized and plate. The reason has nothing to do with the relationship between SMU and CRU and more to do with what they believe is in their financial best interest. This is their right just as it is yours to choose to pay for their services or to use another when negotiating contracts or taking guidance about the marketplace.

From my vantage point, I think we have proven ourselves as being on the cutting edge of pricing and price direction. We will continue to produce our Comparison Price Indices (CPI) articles without CRU.

During this process I have looked at other options. I looked at using the CME daily transaction numbers but found them to be sketchy at best (our opinion). They are not worth reviewing and probably do more harm than good for those trading and looking for short term momentum. Traders would be much better looking at our numbers and direction as we have nothing to gain from either the financial markets or contract markets as we do not allow our numbers to be used in either arena. We exist to be the watchdog and to provide another level of transparency for the markets.

The CME does provide a good balance for looking out into the future. We publish those numbers on our website and we have Andre Marshall of Crunchrisk and Spencer Johnson of FC Stone who write our Thursday evening articles on the subject of HRC Futures (and Andre carries it further discussing the S&P 500, scrap and iron ore trading as well as other metals).

A quick reminder that we have two events coming up – the first being our Steel 101 workshop which will be held close to SDI Columbus steel mill at the Marriott hotel in Starkville, Mississippi on January 19-20, 2016 (you can fly into Columbus, Birmingham or Memphis and then drive to Starkville). Details are on our website.

The second event is our Leadership Summit Conference which will be held in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida on March 7-9, 2016 at the PGA National Resort & Spa. This new event will be something quite different and is focused on management at manufacturing, steel distribution or trading companies. So far those registering are company presidents or CEO’s, general managers, or family members of ownership that are preparing for the transition of power. Registration is being limited (we have only blocked 70 rooms) and is on a first come, first served basis. Registration is available online or you can contact my office: 800-432-3475. We currently are offering early bird discount of $250 along with our SMU discount of $150 (total discount of $400) for those who register (or request an invoice) prior to January 1, 2016.

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?