Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

A quick note about December import license data reported as of this evening: Vietnam for December has requested 63,932 net tons of import licenses. Of those 42,114 net tons are cold rolled and 11,787 net tons are galvanized.The average for cold rolled and galvanized exports from Vietnam over the past twelve months was less than 1,000 tons per month (combined!)… Brazil is also becoming a larger player in hot rolled (59,390 net tons) and galvanized (30,856 net tons) exports. Chinese numbers are shrinking and are expected to become irrelevant (disappear) in the next month or two. In January 2015 China exported 49,802 net tons of galvanized.

Looking at just the galvanized import license data for the month of December only we are seeing some new (old) faces: South Africa, Netherlands, Japan, Austria, Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia (from zero to 9,140 net tons) and Germany. Has Pandora’s Box been opened?

Please note that the PGA National Resort & Spa has been having internet server issues which has impacted the ability of a number of our registrants to get their hotel reservations made. The PGA National Resort is either sold out or very close to being sold out and you will need to access our room block. You can do that by using the following link: Leadership Summit Hotel Reservations. If you receive an Access Denied or something other than access to the room block (this is their server issue problem) you can contact the hotel reservation people at: 800-863-2819 and ask for the Steel Market Update room block for our Leadership Summit Conference or just tell them our room block is under the following code: 030716STEE.

If you have any issues making a hotel reservation please contact either Ray Culley ( or myself ( The hotel has been very apologetic about their server issues and we expect them to be resolved soon.

Speaking of the conference I think this is going to be one of the best programs put on for those associated with the steel industry (companies that buy, sell or use steel products). This includes manufacturing companies, service centers, wholesalers, fabricators, toll processors, trading companies and others associated with the industry. This conference is dedicated to executives who have to deal with a wide variety of issues: managing a multi-generational workforce (especially Millennials) with Diane Thielfoldt (one of the founders of The Learning Cafe) dealing with social media issues including using social media for branding and marketing, (Patty Rioux) to what are the legal pitfalls executives need to be aware of when trying to control social media content out of employees and others (attorney Bradley Sherman).

I have a very high regard for the Institute for Trend Research and one of their managing partners, Alan Beaulieu. Alan spoke at our last Steel Summit Conference and will again at the end of August this year. He recommended two speakers for our Leadership Summit. One is Alex Chausovsky of ITR and Alan promised that we will be very pleased with his economic and business cycle presentation. At the recent HARDI conference I asked Alan if there was an exceptional speaker out there outside of his company that he would recommend. He highly recommended Jaynie Smith who is a best-selling author (attendees will receive a free copy of one of her books) on creating competitive advantage and relevant selling. Check out her website as I think it will create a spark for you to fan when you are in Florida at our Leadership Summit Conference.

Everyone knows that I enjoy working with attorney Lewis E Liebowitz who has been very helpful to my understanding of the ongoing antidumping and countervailing duty trade cases. We are in the midst of getting the preliminary determinations on various flat rolled products (corrosion resistant is done, cold rolled and hot rolled to follow) and trying to figure out what it all means and what comes next. Lewis will do that for us as well as discussing the new legal language, what can or cannot happen with a Section 201 filing (by the president of the United States) and what steel consuming companies can do to protect their interests. This topic will be timely, active and fluid and buyers and sellers need to be aware of what has happened and what most likely will happen in the weeks and months ahead.

Being an old sales guy I have always been interested in learning more about “niches” that others may not be paying attention to that I could develop on behalf of my customers in order to improve their business and, in the process, expand my influence in their buying decisions. If I were selling today I would spend time learning more about what uses I can find for HSS (high strength steels) that are being used by the automotive industry. I would also want to learn more about the AHSS (advanced high strength steels) that are being developed for the automotive industry. It is my opinion that the next wave of change in the industry will be “light-weighting” or using thinner (and stronger) steels to make existing products (like a car).

I am not alone as the Steel Market Development Institute along with John Hopkins University are working with the construction community to help educate and generate interest in using steels developed for the automotive industry. We have the President of the SMDI (Larry Kavanagh) and SMDI VP Robert Willis as well as John Hopkins University Engineering Professor and Civil Engineering Chair, Benjamin Schafer who is working with SMDI on this conversion project. Those of you who have an interest in what you can do within your manufacturing process to lower cost, improve the product or at least understand where the industry is going will want to listen. I don’t know where the industry will take these products but I am interested in learning more – we hope you and your organization are as well.  You will have direct access in a small setting to interact and network with some of the top minds on the subject at our Leadership Summit Conference.

Big River Steel construction continues and they will be very close to taking their first trial orders by the time we meet in March. SMU has invited Mark Bula to address of conference but we have asked that he address specific issues we think are important to the executives who will be attending. What is the timing and how will the mill roll-out each piece of equipment, exactly what customers are they looking at for initial loading of the mill and then ultimately what do they want as their core customers, etc.

The PGA National Resort & Spa is an exceptional world-class resort located close to a number of airports (PBI – West Palm Beach is the closest at about 15 minutes with FLL – Fort Lauderdale about 45 minutes away). The weather should be mild – in the 70’s to low 80’s is average – there are five golf courses including the Champions course which is where the Honda Classic is played and the beach is about 15 minutes away. Great restaurants and shopping are within 15 minutes of the hotel.

On the first night we will “break the ice” with an outside cocktail party, dinner, presentation by the SMDI President and “glow golf” (in photo) to keep the mood relaxed and perfect for networking with the other executives and speakers.

It will be “high” season in the Palm Beaches area and it will be a great place to be to network and learn more about better managing your company and inspiring your employees as well as getting a better understanding of just a few key steel issues that we think will be important not only in 2016 but well into the future.

Who should attend? company Presidents and CEO’s as well as top executives and managers who are associated with purchasing, sales, human relations as well as financial officers. If your company is family owned and there are sons or daughters (or other family members) coming up through the ranks with the expectation they will some day take over the company – this is the kind of conference they need to attend. This conference is excellent for manufacturing companies, service centers/wholesalers, toll processors and companies who service the steel industry.

The cost for the Leadership Summit Conference is $1995 per person with a $150 per person discount (coupon code is LEADERSHIP) for Steel Market Update member companies (with discount = $1845 per person). You can register online or by contacting our office: 800-432-3475. We can issue an invoice if you wish – contact our office or send an email to:

If you have any questions what-so-ever, I am here to speak with you personally. You can reach me at 800-432-3475 or on my cell phone: 770-596-6268 at almost anytime.

I highly encourage that your company send an executive or up-and-coming executive to this our 1st Leadership Summit Conference. I do not think you will be disappointed.

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.