SMU Data and Models

SMU Market Trends: How Strong is Demand?

Written by Tim Triplett

Is demand strong enough to support the latest wave of mill price increases?

The majority (53 percent) of respondents to Steel Market Update’s latest market trends questionnaire say demand is unchanged, while 6 percent describe it as declining. Only 41 percent consider steel demand to be improving as the new year begins.

Following are a few respondents’ comments:

  • “It’s difficult to know true market demand in January.” Trading Company
  • “Demand is slightly improving. Weather has been a factor this winter.” Steel Mill
  • “Demand has been steady for some time now and remains strong in general.” Trading Company
  • “Demand is strong. The week of Jan. 8 was the largest week for sales in the history of the company.” Manufacturer/OEM

Of the service center executives responding to SMU’s questionnaire, only one-third report that their manufacturer customers are increasing orders. Sixty percent say manufacturers are maintaining order flows, while 7 percent report that steel-consuming manufacturers are actually reducing orders.

Certainly, demand varies widely by region, by end-use market and by steel product type, but the degree to which the mills will succeed in collecting their latest price hikes remains an open question.

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