Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

First, tomorrow (Wednesday) is Valentine’s Day.

The heat is turning up on Section 232 discussions as trade groups, individual businesses and congressmen lean in and provide their opinions to President Trump. He still sounds like he is going to do something “disruptive,” but we just don’t know for sure.

As you can see from tonight’s issue, we are covering the subject on as many fronts and from as many angles as possible. We will continue to do so.

The other subject that we must all watch carefully is NAFTA and the negotiations between the United States, Canada and Mexico. Depending on the day, there seems to be one party complaining about the actions or tactics of another. We are watching the negotiations on a daily basis.

We are also working on the transportation issues that are impacting a large swath of the industry catching some end-users unprepared for the “new normal” when it comes to just-in-time deliveries. Tim Triplett is working on the subject, and it will also be one that gets discussed at this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference at the end of August.

We now have approximately 3-4 spots left in our March 28-29, 2018, Steel 101 workshop, which will be held in Merrillville, Ind. NLMK USA Portage will host our group as we tour their EAF steel mill. We have been there a couple of times and they never fail to thrill our attendees. You can find details on our website: or you can contact us at with any questions you might have.

By the way, if your company has already registered someone to attend this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference and you wish to add more people (one at a time), please contact us at and we can provide a code to ensure that you are charged the correct amount on the website. You are also welcome to contact our offices at 772-032-7538 and we can take your payment over the phone or arrange to send you an invoice.

I will be at the Port of Tampa Steel Conference next week. If you are attending the conference, please look for me in the crowd.

I will be publishing our full service center inventories report tomorrow morning (first to those who participated, then on Thursday to our Executive and Premium level members).

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

I’ve had discussions with some of you lately about where and when sheet prices might bottom. Some of you say that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices won’t fall below $800 per short ton (st). Others tell me that bigger buyers aren’t interested unless they can get something that starts with a six. Obviously a lot depends on whether we're talking 50 tons or 50,000 tons. I've even gotten some guff about how the drop in US prices is happening only because we’re talking about it happening.

Final thoughts

We’ve all heard a lot about mill “discipline” following a wave of consolidation over the last few years. That discipline is often evident when prices are rising, less so when they are falling. I remember hearing earlier this year that mills weren’t going to let hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fall below $1,000 per short ton (st). Then not below $900/st. Now, some of you tell me that HR prices in the mid/high-$800s are the “1-800 price” – widely available to regular spot buyers. So what comes next, and will mills “hold the line” in the $800s?