SMU Data and Models

This Week's Survey Results are Now Online

Written by John Packard

A quick note to our Premium level and free trial subscribers: We have just published the results from this week’s flat rolled steel market trends analysis (survey) on our website. It is available to you once you have signed into the website. The power point presentation can be found under the analysis tab.

A quick review of what you will find in this week’s results:

We had a fairly traditional mix of steel people taking this week’s survey. Manufacturing companies were 46% of the respondents, service centers/wholesalers 37% with trading companies (7%), steel mills (6%) and toll processors (4%) filling out this week’s survey.

The first section in the power point is regarding our Sentiment Index and we display both the Current and Future views on a survey to survey basis as well as a 3 month moving average. We like to concentrate on the 3MMA as being the most telling.

The presentation then takes a look at demand from an overall perspective (manufacturers and service centers together) and later we look at demand from a manufacturing and distribution only perspective. The bottom line is in our opinion the results show a relatively healthy steel demand at this point in time.

We asked about price increases (prior to the announcements being made). The 35% who said no most likely responded prior to ArcelorMittal and SSAB getting the word out (surprise!)…

We look at lead times in a number of different ways throughout the survey. Early on we asked if customers were having difficulties getting deliveries of their steel on time. We think this is very telling when compared over time. We just started asking this question so it will become more valuable to us as time goes on.

SMU asked if manufacturing and service centers achieved their business forecast for the month of February.

We look at purchases and releases as another way of gauging demand.

We look at inventory buying patterns which will change based on demand as well as changes in mill lead times. As lead times extend buyers need to place more orders to insure they are protected.

We look at negotiations between the domestic mills and their customers to see what products are the most “flexible” (or tight). Hot rolled is clearly the weakest product.

We also look at foreign steel price spread and buying history.

In Sunday evening’s newsletter we will have a few articles about some of the specific data contained in this week’s survey.

Thank you again for your business.

John Packard, Publisher

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