Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

Zinc is once again trading above $1.40 per pound ($1.42 as of 3:30 PM ET) and the smaller steel mills and converters are wondering why U.S. Steel, ArcelorMittal USA and Nucor haven’t made the move to higher zinc coating extras on galvanized steel? We have seen four mills make changes on their “spot” new orders: NLMK USA, USS/POSCO, California Steel and AK Steel. Mills like Wheeling/Nishin (who tends to follow U.S. Steel), CSN (Terre Haute, IN) and Ternium are sitting back and waiting.

Although one of the mills told us that since coated transaction prices are not able to be increased in the current market, the net effect of the higher zinc cost is a squeeze on margin.

In the meantime, at least one of the indexes tied to contract pricing has made the decision to move .060” G90 coating extra from $78 per ton to $86 per ton. SMU has not yet made the move, and we will continue to keep our extras the same as long as USS, AM and Nucor hold out.

This doesn’t mean galvanized buyers should not be aware of changes or potential changes, and those of you involved in negotiating 2018 contracts for coated steels should be aware that extras may come up in the discussions with your mill suppliers (or service centers if they have to pass new extras through to their customers).

We continue to add more flat rolled steel service centers and wholesalers to our new distributor index (months of supply of inventories). If interested, please contact me at: 800-432-3475 or email and I can provide information about what we are looking for and how you can contribute.

We will not be publishing or identifying any participating service centers. Data providers will be kept confidential, as will the information shared with SMU.

For those interested, we are working on two reports. We will have a “Flash” report that will come out just a few days after the end of a month. The “Flash” report will be based on data from a limited number of trusted distributors (my target is 10 companies). Then a little later in the month (goal is around the 10th of the month) we will produce our months on hand report. This will be adjusted to days of supply on hand in a relatively short period of time.

Data providers, both “Flash” and regular, will receive the results of the data anywhere from one to three days before it is presented to our subscribers.

We are working on a number of events for 2018. Our next Steel 101 workshop will be in the Mobile, Ala., area and we will be touring the SSAB Alabama minimill. We are looking to get final hotel confirmations, and we are aiming for the week of Jan. 22, 2018.

We will be working with NLMK USA and their Portage, Ind., operation for a little later in the year (probably late April/early May). We will have more on that Steel 101 workshop after we conclude negotiations with the hotels for Alabama.

With the success of this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference, we are in negotiations with the Georgia International Convention Center (GICC) to expand our footprint inside the convention hall. The dates for the 2018 Steel Summit are Aug. 27-29. We have already blocked rooms at the Marriott Gateway, Renaissance Gateway and SpringHill Suites Gateway hotels. We are working with Marriott and potentially some other hotels to ensure there will be ample rooms. We expect 750 steel and manufacturing executives at the 2018 event.

If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or exhibitor for the 2018 event, we are already taking names (and we already have commitments from many of our existing sponsors). We will announce the sponsorships still available within the next few weeks. If you are interested, let Ray.Culley@SteelMarketUpdate and know so you can be contacted as soon as we go out with our new sponsorship/exhibitor brochure.

If you have recommendations on potential subjects or speakers that you think we should cover for 2018, we are all ears. We want to hear from you, and we appreciate the suggestions. Our goal is to never reproduce the same conference that we did the year before.

Happy New Year (Rosh Hashanah) to our Jewish friends.

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.