Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

,Good evening from New York City (or good morning if you are reading this in the AM). I have been in the city since Sunday evening meeting with manufacturers, service centers, trading companies, steel mills and some of the financial community. The conversations started with one word – Section – and then three numbers – 232. The steel world and those associated with it are all a gaga trying to figure out how Section 232 will affect their lives in the days, weeks, months and maybe years to come.

The halls of the Marriott Marquis conveniently (or not) located at the key intersections of Broadway and 46th and 47th Streets (it’s a big building) were abuzz with rumors and even some pieces of usable information. Digging out what is what is always the challenge we face on a daily basis.

Those assembled at the hotel were almost unanimously of the opinion that the government is poised to take action to help the steel industry, the steel mills. A few experienced traders expressed a dissenting view, saying they feel the pundits declaring the sky as falling are a bit overdone.

I have lived through many trade actions against foreign steel. There have been Section 201’s (ultimately dropped after the manufacturing companies complained), VRA’s (voluntary restraint agreements – now illegal under WTO rules) and many other antidumping/countervailing duty actions. Some have been successful, but in many cases they created more problems than they were worth.

So, we are a couple of days away from the end of the June, which is the self-imposed deadline set by President Trump for the DOC to complete their Section 232 investigation. According to sources who listened to Earl Comstock of the DOC who spoke in New York on Tuesday, there is much work to be done on the trade front to help both the steel industry and, more importantly, the U.S. economy.

Needless to say, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross was unable to make his way to New York City as his schedule is a little busy right now.

I was able to meet with dozens of steel people during my time here in New York City. As the week progresses, both Tim Triplett, who joined me in NYC, and I will provide more information on what we learned during our time here.

I also confirmed today that our next Steel 101 workshop will be held in conjunction with Steel Dynamics’ (SDI) Butler, Ind., plant.  The workshop will be held the week of Oct. 9, 2017. We are working with hotels and with SDI to provide the exact dates and location, and we hope to have that for you in the next few working days. I want to thank SDI for agreeing to share their Butler plant, which we have visited once before. We are looking forward to working with their team once again. Stay tuned for more details.

Sixty-one days until we kick off our 7th SMU Steel Summit Conference in Atlanta.

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

John Packard, Publisher

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