Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Good evening from Naples, Florida (warm, sunny) where the Association of Steel Distributors is holding its Spring Meeting. I am looking forward to the business meeting portion and presentations which will be coming on Friday and Saturday. I will report on what I learn in Sunday evening’s edition of Steel Market Update.

The sense or early “vibe” that I am getting here is business is decent, in some cases good. One service center owner when asked about his inventory position said, “committed” even though much of what they sell is into the spot market.

I had a similar conversation with a mill rep who also told me that their order book was being “controlled” (I was told they don’t like to use the “A” word – as in allocation). Their customers are not necessarily happy about the controlled part of the business but, it helps keep prices strong. This rep also pointed out that no one is going to make a move on price until they understand their cost. The issue is scrap and the desire to get the negotiations done prior to the ISRI (scrap) conference next week in Las Vegas. It hasn’t happened. Dealers are holding out and the mills aren’t yet willing to pay up to the levels being asked. The expectation right now is for scrap to move $30 to as much as $50 per gross ton higher for April delivery than what we saw at the beginning of March.

I got a note today from one of our members who thanked me for helping him find a new product, ZAM, which he ended up using in his product. The value of a subscription to Steel Market Update can sometimes be one article positioned at just the right time.

As always your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, Publisher

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Final thoughts

What's the tea in the steel industry this week? Here's the latest SMU gossip column! Just kidding... kind of. Yes, some of the comments we receive in our weekly flat-rolled market steel buyers' survey are honestly too much to put into print. Some make us laugh. Some make us cringe. Some are cryptic. Most are serious. We appreciate them all. Below are some highlights from our survey results this week. Some of the comments that we can share with you are also included, in italics, in the buyers' own words, with minimal editing on our part.