Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


The wheels are moving and things are happening that are going to affect the momentum behind this market.

First, there are new price increase announcements being made, first out of California and now by ArcelorMittal USA, which has put new base prices into the market. Second, Big River Steel put their customers on allocation for the month of March. Steel Market Update heard from multiple BRS customers who advised us that BRS was telling contract customers they could not order more than the contract “minimum” for the month of March. Other customers also told us that their tonnage was being restricted in March so the mill could catch up and deliver late orders. I expect there will be more mill announcements in the coming days reacting to what ArcelorMittal put out there this evening. AM told their customers the new minimum base prices would be: $750 per ton on hot rolled and $930 per ton on cold rolled and coated products.

And we are still waiting for the president’s decision on Section 232…

We had an excellent Steel 101 workshop in Mobile over the past two days. I want to thank SSAB who went out of their way to provide an exceptional experience for our attendees. The mill has to change out one of the molds in their caster, which impacted their EAF. Even so, the mill went out of their way to charge their two EAF’s for our group. Thank you again SSAB.

Our next Steel 101 workshop will be in Merrillville, Ind., and we will tour the NLMK USA Portage steel mill. The dates are March 28-29, 2018. You can find more details on our website.

As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here 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.