Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


We had a number of companies share foreign import numbers with us as we traveled about the market reaching out to buyers regarding their domestic purchases and the offers coming out of the domestic steel mills. On cold rolled we heard Russia offers delivered to Houston at $33.25/cwt, Turkey at $35.35/cwt and Vietnam $35.15/cwt.

I also have been asking about the quality and timeliness of deliveries out of Big River Steel and Acero Junction. I had a number of people respond to Big River Steel as it appears they are a much bigger and accepted player in the market than Acero Junction.

Big River Steel is getting rave reviews for the quality of the material from most of their hot rolled customers. An example of a customer comment we collected today: “…Steel is great, no issues at all. Good quality steel. Paperwork flow still having issues like MTR’s/BOL’s but is getting better. Trucking situation is horrible. Adding that many tons in Arkansas region has been a disaster getting trucks for everyone.”

We did get one comment about Acero Junction during the limited amount of time that I had to search the market today (remember, we are conducting a Steel 101 workshop today in Ohio). “Regarding AJ… They have done a good job of restarting the mill, and the product was initially workable (and yes, this exceeded our expectations!).  As they gain experience, the product has improved to be just fine for CSB in the gauges they are making.  They will continue to improve, especially as the slab supply grows more consistent.”

I was impressed with my first visit to the North Star BlueScope steel mill. Having worked for a small domestic galvanizing mill it is amazing to me how well run the mill is and the great job the commercial team, in concert with operations, is able to keep the mill full, or very close to full, month in and month out. If my memory is correct, the parent company – BlueScope, reported the NSB mill as being one of the most profitable businesses they own. I want to thank the executives at North Star BlueScope for their hospitality and efforts to help our Steel 101 workshop attendees to better understand how steel is made.

I was happy to hear from NSB (and elsewhere for that matter) that the industry continues to talk about and to recommend our SMU Steel Summit Conference as THE conference to attend if you want quality speakers and the ability to actually learn (and enjoy learning) while at the same time being able to network with companies from across the United States and Canada. In an article in tonight’s newsletter we introduced a new program that will be presented on Monday afternoon (the first day of the conference) by the consulting firm Applied Value Group. We found AVG through a reader and attendee of past SMU Steel Summit Conferences. The goal is to improve the negotiations process and to work with/listen to a company that regularly works with major OEM’s in automotive and other industries. We hope our attendees will arrive in ATL in the late AM/early afternoon on Monday so they will be able to attend the Pre-Summit Conference Program at the Marriott Hotel and to enjoy the networking at the lounge in the Marriott Hotel as well. You can learn more about our programs, facilities and costs to attend on our website or by contacting our offices: 706-216-2140/772-932-7538.

As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us 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.