Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


I will be doing an article in Sunday evening’s newsletter about the AISI capacity utilization numbers. The AISI produces their “estimate” of steel production and the percentage of capacity utilization based on 50 percent (or fewer) of the mills reporting production data. I have considered not publishing the data at all because, in my opinion, the numbers are more fiction than fact. Especially when considering sheet or flat rolled products which today are much closer to 95 percent than the 72 percent reported by AISI. One reason why their number is so off is due to long products being included in the total calculation. More on this subject on Sunday evening.

Nucor and ArcelorMittal have come out with spot pricing to their customers with hot rolled at $26.00/cwt. I am hearing that NLMK USA is also at $26.00/cwt ($520 per ton) while SDI and North Star Bluescope are at $25.50/cwt ($510 per ton).

There is not much foreign hot rolled being offered into the U.S. market. When there is an offer the numbers are very close to domestic offers so the purchasing advantage to foreign is much less unless your company is a believer that prices will be much higher in August than they are today.

We understand US Steel has been buying hot rolled from SDI and possibly Nucor and shipping it into Granite City. With their books being essentially full, with scrap prices rising (which affects purchases from other mill suppliers) and with foreign appearing to be less of an issue in the coming months, my opinion is USS may consider bringing back one of their blast furnaces at Granite City. We will need to watch this carefully in the coming days and weeks. I expect we should know something by the time USS releases their earnings later this month.

For those interested in sending someone to our next Steel 101 workshop in Sylvania, OH (just outside of Toledo) we only have a few spots left before the workshop will need to be closed. You can find more information on our website and you can register there or by contacting our office: 800-432-3475.

Our next Steel 101 workshop will be in early November in Memphis, Tennessee and will include a special once in a lifetime tour of a brand new steel mill – Big River Steel. We will most likely expand this workshop to 2.5 days (from 2 days) in order to get as much information about the mill as possible to our attendees. We have already started a reservation list of those interested in sending employees. More details to come.

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.

Final thoughts

Unless you've been under a rock, you know by know that Nucor's published HR price for this week is $760 per short ton, down $65/st from the company’s $825/st a week ago. I could use more colorful words. But I think it’s safe to say that most of the market was not expecting this. For starters, US sheet mills never announce price decreases. (OK, not never. It has come to my attention that Severstal North America rescinded a price increase back on Feb. 14, 2012. And it caused quite the ruckus.)