This is the last issue of Steel Market Update for this calendar year. We will not publish an issue on Thursday as it is New Year’s Eve and we will all be out celebrating what we hope will be a much stronger New Year. our offices will be open on Wednesday and for the first half of the day on Thursday.
In case it means anything, Alan Beaulieu of the Institute for Trend Research is forecasting that 2016 will be a better year than 2015 and 2017 will be even better than 2016. So, there is light at the end of this tunnel and we are looking forward to a good 2016.
I want to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for your business, support of our workshops and conferences and spreading the word about our little company. Please keep it up in the New Year as we continue to grow and to bite on the tail of our competition.
We are part of the fabric of the steel industry. An industry which has struggled over the past 25 years and continues to reinvent itself with new steels, consolidation, the closure of outdated mills and the opening of new state of the art facilities. We will have another one coming online by mid-2016, Big River Steel. SMU will host one of our Steel 101 workshops in Memphis, Tennessee probably in October and we will take our attendees to tour Big River Steel.
The steel industry has been good to me and my family and I hope it has done the same for you and yours.
From all of us here at Steel Market Update we want to wish each and every one of your a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous New Year!
John Packard, Founder & Publisher, Steel Market Update
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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.