I hope that all of you will take a few moments to click on the links provided for the speakers and for the PGA National Resort & Spa to get a better feel for the quality of the program we will be putting on in March for a select few company executives. There is a good reason why the cost is much higher than our Steel Summit Conference – this is not a steel conference, we are looking for this to be an experience where information and ideas are freely traded between our speakers, attendees and staff. We are looking to dig deeper and to provide more information about subjects that affect businesses on a daily basis. I can’t remember how many times I have spoke to executives about the problems of managing a multi-generational workforce. For those of you who go back 10 years or longer with me, you might remember that I used to tell you that my kids need new shoes. Well, my kids are Millennials and the shoes have grown into much bigger issues. I am looking forward to our program on managing Millennials and other issues associated with the multi-generational workforce. Take some time to review the whats, when, where and whys associated with our Leadership Summit and I hope to see you in Palm Beach Gardens (Florida) on March 7-9, 2016.
One of our members asked me today about the expiration of our agreement with CRU to re-publish their HR, CR, GI and plate prices. CRU has made a business decision that they would rather have their numbers come directly from them (at about 3 times our subscription fees and that may be on the low side). That is their business decision to make. After today we will not reference their numbers. We remind our readers that if you are in negotiations with your suppliers there are index options out there and if transparency (and cost) is an issue you have the right to use what best suits your needs.
In November I spoke at a Cowen & Company conference in New York City for the financial community. I had to remind those in attendance that I have been associated with the steel industry for over 40 years. Anyone who stays in the steel industry for that long has to be a die-hard optimist. Perhaps that is why one of the very first products I developed for Steel Market Update was our Sentiment Index. I think over the past 7 years it has shown itself to be very accurate as to the mood of those buying and selling steel and a useful tool to those who want to know where things are headed from here. Take some time to review the history on our website.
I got a note from a reader today who wanted to know if he missed an issue because someone forwarded an article we wrote that he had not seen yet. What we found out was the article is one from tonight’s newsletter that we published either late yesterday (we published our article on the cold rolled trade suits yesterday) or earlier today. If the article is important (like the CR CVD ruling) we try to get it out to our readers as early as possible. The way we do that is to publish it on our website first – which you can then access just by logging into your account and clicking on that article.
We also publish a number of blog posts about all kinds of subjects that do not make it into our newsletter. So, you may want to occasionally check out our blog.
We still have room for a few more people at the upcoming Steel 101 workshop which will be held at a brand new Marriott Courtyard hotel in Starkville, Mississippi. We will be touring the Steel Dynamics Columbus steel mill as part of our program. You can get details on our website or, you are welcome to contact me personally. I can be reached at 800-432-3475 or by email at: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com.
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
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.