SMU Data and Models

SMU Market Trends: What Buyers are Saying About Pricing and Demand

Written by Tim Triplett

Nearly 90 percent of the respondents to Steel Market Update’s latest market trends questionnaire say they see flat roll prices heading even higher. The other 10 percent are uncertain and see no clear-cut price direction right now.

Will steel prices keep rising? Following are some of respondents’ comments:

  • “Hot roll yes, cold roll a slight yes, galvanized I have no idea.” Service Center/Wholesaler
  • “Hot roll coil is going up for sure, galvanized not so much.” Service Center/Wholesaler
  • “I see another month of climb, then softening.” Service Center/Wholesaler
  • “Price push in Asia is out of control. It will adjust down, but not after continuing to increase for the next month or so.” Trading Company
  • “I think we tickle $750 at a peak, then we see a pullback. I don’t see a precipitous fall, maybe down to the $640 range, then stabilize. Everyone can still make money at those levels.” Service Center/Wholesaler
  • “Prices are rising for now…but the horizon is a little cloudier.” Service Center/Wholesaler

Is Demand Keeping Pace with Prices?

More than 40 percent of respondents to SMU’s questionnaire this week reported demand for their products is increasing. But for the majority (54 percent), demand is remaining about the same, and a small percentage see demand slowing.

How do respondents describe the current demand environment? Following are some of their comments:

  • “We have more quotes than we can handle.” Manufacturer/OEM
  • “Construction up, but auto is flat to slightly soft.” Service Center/Wholesaler
  • “It was a very slow January due to weather-related issues, so it’s difficult to forecast too far into the future.” Trading Company
  • “It’s a combination of general demand, seasonal factors and less steel on the international side.” Steel Mill
  • “Demand is well above the norm for this part of our seasonal cycle.” Manufacturer/OEM

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