Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

As I move around the flat rolled steel industry, communicating with manufacturing companies, service centers, traders and steel mills, I am receiving mixed messages about the market. A good example is the HARDI steel committee conference call that was held earlier today. HARDI wholesalers, the companies who supply the HVAC mechanical contractors in the building industry, reported a tightening at the bottom of the market while at the same time reporting prices that were a long way away from what the domestic mills were touting when price announcements were made. The wholesalers also reported a weak to weakening price market coming out of the service centers. One wholesaler told the group about service center pricing to contractors, “They are cheaper now than two to three weeks ago. The contractors believe they can get a lower price by playing one [service center] off another.”

Tim Triplett of SMU listened in on the call and reported on it in an article in tonight’s issue.

I am working with a new steel data analysts on expanding Premium content. We are working with some new data that is produced daily as steel shipments clear U.S. customs. I hope to have a report on galvanized for everyone to view on Thursday, and we are working on a slab report for later this week or early next week. If we find the data valuable and interesting, we are looking at potentially producing bi-monthly and even weekly reports regarding flat rolled, plate and slab imports (and other products as needed).

We are also expanding our Steel 101 instructor base. A couple of months ago, we added Steve Murphy, a metallurgist and long products expert with over 30 years of operational experience. We are now adding Chuck McDaniels as a new instructor who is also a metallurgist, as well as a quality, sales and marketing expert at the mill level for flat rolled steel. Chuck has more than 35 years of experience.

SMU is working on hosting five Steel 101 workshops during 2018. Our first workshop at the end of January is already sold out (Mobile, Ala., with tour of SSAB’s minimill) and we are now taking registrations for our March 28 & 29, 2018, workshop, which will be held in Merrillville, Ind., (just outside of Chicago) where we will tour the NLMK USA Portage, Ind., minimill. Details on the March program can be found here on our website.

We are working with three more mills to fill out our 2018 Steel 101 calendar. Details will be coming once we have finalized mill and hotel arrangements.

I am also working on the framework for our 2018 SMU Steel Summit Conference program. Every year, I spend weeks agonizing over areas that need to be covered and, at the same time, looking for new topics that have not yet been discussed but are important to the industry. One of the ways I find interesting topics and speakers is through conversations and recommendations that I get from people like you. If you have any thoughts as to topics you feel should be covered during the two and a half days of our conference, please send me a note: or give me a call: 800-432-3475. I am always looking for new quality speakers that can add value to our program.

On a side note, we continue to collect responses to our mid-November flat rolled steel market trends survey. If you received a request to participate please take a moment to click on the button contained in the email which will take you to our questionnaire. we will begin publishing the results in Thursday evening’s issue of SMU. Our Premium members and survey participants will have access to our Power Point presentation with the results on Friday afternoon of this week.

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

John Packard, Publisher

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