Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

NLMK USA was the first mill to raise prices, going up $40 per ton. I am hearing comments from both sides on whether the price increases are a good or bad thing. My personal opinion is prices got a little “over-done” last year and dropped too low. A hot rolled number closer to $500 may make more sense and hopefully a healthier steel industry. With China’s hot rolled market around $380 per metric ton and prices rising around the world, there may be longer “legs” to this market than many believe possible. I wouldn’t count on a big drop in prices over the next 60 days.

There are definitely pockets of strength out there. With the milder than normal winter we have seen the metal building and other construction segments of the economy doing much better than forecast. This is one of the reasons why you are seeing a strong galvanized and Galvalume order books. Are orders that would have been in the system for 2nd or 3rd quarter getting moved up?

We are hearing of a couple of outages for maintenance coming in June. We have heard North Star Bluescope will take 3-5 days outage as will Nucor Gallatin.

We spoke with a couple of our automotive service center sources who report all is still going well with the industry (and we are all keeping our fingers crossed it continues).

A construction related manufacturing company warned us that their business was up 30 percent over the first three months 2016. However, the buyer warned us that the market hasn’t gone up by 30 percent. Sooner or later there will be a correction.

We heard from two experienced buyers that they have a concern about the number of inexperienced buyers who didn’t live through 2004 and 2008 and don’t have those experiences to fall back on. There could be some companies who over react to the tightness in the markets. The experienced buyers we spoke with today told us they continue to order for orders on the books and not speculate on what “may” happen.

SMU has been approached a number of times over the past month to see if we will offer our Sales Training Workshop to an open audience. If your company has interest in sending sales or purchasing people to a workshop focused on sales and purchasing techniques for the service center/steel mill industries please contact me at:

We still have a number of seats available for our next Steel 101 workshop which will be held just outside of Toledo on May 17-18 and will include a tour of the North Star Bluescope steel mill. Registration  can be done on our website ( or through our office at 800-432-3475. Our full program is on our website. If you have any questions please contact us at:

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

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.