Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


I have been working day and night trying to get a list of the invited speakers for the Section 232 (national security) hearing at the U.S. Department of Commerce on the morning of Wednesday, May 24th. The US Department of Commerce came out with the list to the media late this afternoon. The hearings starts at 10 AM ET and you can live stream the hearing by going to: www.bis.doc.gov/232SteelHearing.

I have the following comments regarding the list of speakers: Not speaking is the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Association of Manufacturers, Precision Metalforming Association and similar steel-using associations. I did see that the Air Distribution Institute (ADI) is speaking. I was struck that no automotive companies or appliance companies are speaking.

At the same time I am amazed that Russia, China, Ukraine and Eurofer are going to speak on U.S. national security.

There are 8 domestic steel mills, the AISI and Philip Bell of the Steel Manufacturers Association (one of our speakers at SMU Steel Summit 2017).

There is only one port speaking (New Orleans).

There are a large number of speakers connected to the pipe industry including Barry Zekelman of Zekelman Industries (one of our speakers at this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference).

There are many who believe that the hearing may provide some insights as to the way the government is leaning. I am not so sure that will be the case. I am hopeful that manufacturing companies or their associations who were not selected to speak will provide written feedback from their viewpoint as well as those who support the steel industry. Both Sandy Williams in my office and I will be monitoring the hearing which we will report on in Thursday evening’s edition of SMU.

We had a number of people register for our Steel 101 workshop over the last few days. The workshop will be held in Ontario, California on June 22-23rd. We still have seats available should you, or someone in your company have an interest in attending. Details can be found on our website: www.SteelMarketUpdate.com/Events/Steel101 or you are welcome to speak directly with me and I will answer any questions that you might have. I can be reached at: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com or by phone at 800-432-3475.

Speaking of sleep… The Marriott Gateway Hotel room block has been exhausted. However, I was there last week and the hotel does have some rooms left at “reasonable” rates. If you want to stay at the host hotel you may want to go to the hotel’s website and see what kind of rate they have posted. I know of at least one of our expected attendees who told me they were able to negotiate with the reservation person in order to get the same rate.

The Marriott Gateway Hotel will be sold out very soon. We have a room block at the SpringHill Suites which is located across the street and have negotiated a $134 per night rate. We expect that room block to be sold out within a week. We were not able to block the entire hotel so there will be rooms left once our block is gone.

There is a brand new hotel – the Renaissance Gateway Hotel – which is directly across the street from the Marriott Gateway Hotel. We are being told the Renaissance rooms will run about 20% higher than the other hotels. Rates start around $159 if booked now (not part of a room block). The hotel’s grand opening was last week.

For those of you who wait to book your hotel reservations, you can expect to pay over $200 per night if you wait until late July/August.

A reminder that this weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. We will not publish a newsletter on Sunday evening.

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

John Packard, Publisher

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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.