Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

We are five and a half months (5.5) or 166 days away from the opening of our 7th SMU Steel Summit Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. We went over 100 registrations today and we expect 500+ registrations when we get into the month of August. There are four companies that we know of that will be registering 10 or more people from various divisions. If your company is planning on registering multiple people but not all at the same time, please contact our offices and we will get you a special code so that everyone is charged the correct amount (even if they register one at a time) when using the website. You are also welcome to contact our office and request an invoice or to register and pay through one of our offices. You can reach us at: or at 772-932-7538 or 706-216-2140.

A note to all galvanized buyers – all of the east of the Rockies steel mills have increased zinc coating prices with the exception of AK Steel. We have received ArcelorMittal and CSN extras over the weekend. We should have our data on the website updated in the next 24 hours.

Also, on March 10th (last Friday) AK Steel announced a $30 per ton price increase on flat rolled steels. They are catching up to the announcement made by the other mills (it is not the beginning of a new round of increases). This is the third carbon flat rolled price increase announcement made by AK Steel during calendar year 2017. The mill announced $40 per ton on January 6, 2017, then $30 per ton on February 21st. The three increases total $100 per ton since the beginning of the New Year.

Most flat rolled steel buyers are expecting scrap to soften once we move into April negotiations and that flat rolled prices will probably peak within the next couple of weeks.

Having just said that, in this evening’s issue there is an article about Ryerson where during their earnings call with analysts their CEO stated that he believes the next two quarters could see higher steel prices. I am going to throw some fuel on that fire. I received an email this evening from someone I have come to know and trust and I was told about their business the following, “…My demand is stronger than my current contracts with the mill…I was no quoted by SDI…Demand [is] very strong; more than planned and expected, especially for HRPO. [We are] having to spot buy coils near a pickler up north to meet demand.”

I will give you one more from a company located at least 1,000 miles from the company I just quoted. This is again from someone I have known for many years and have come to trust, “We are seeing $42.50 – $43.50 CR and Coated Base for spot orders. Coaters [galvanized mills] appear to have moved to new coating extras and not willing to flex. We have needs and will buy tons at spot pricing…but we are not looking to buy much more than necessary. We have had a massive rush of spot orders. Must be cautious because of replacement cost. We see strength in this market through Q2 (at least). Demand is solid and inventories seem lean. Mills continue to exercise disciple.”

Never a dull moment in the steel business…

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

Last week was a newsy one for the US sheet market. Nucor’s announcement that it would publish a weekly HR spot price was the talk of the town – whether that was in chatter among colleagues, at the Boy Scouts of America Metals Industry dinner, or in SMU’s latest market survey. Some think that it could Nucor's spot HR price could bring stability to notoriously volatile US sheet prices, according to SMU's latest steel market survey. Others think it’s too early to gauge its impact. And still others said they were leery of any attempt by producers to control prices.