Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

The first advice I have for steel buyers is don’t panic. Nothing has been announced on 232 yet. Someone mentioned to me this evening that in reality the president hasn’t made a bad decision yet (I am going to ignore Russia – just talking about business related issues). Section 232 may be the first, but the betting is he will figure out a way to keep his promise without alienating the rest of the world and starting a trade war. So, don’t panic. Let’s see what happens over the next few weeks and then we will meet again to see what needs to be done next.

Most of the trading companies are doing just that. Taking a breather for a few weeks, letting the market settle a bit and waiting for calmer heads to prevail.

Registration for our March Steel 101 workshop is sold out. If you are interested in sending someone to the Merrillville, Ind., workshop, which includes a tour of the NLMK Portage EAF mill, please contact us at and we will advise if we can squeeze another person into the workshop. I will announce our next workshop date and location soon.

I want to welcome Big River Steel as a corporate sponsor to this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference. BRS joins Pacesetter, Bank of America, Crowe Horwath, Heidtman Steel, Nucor, Modern Metals, Magic Coil Products, Mill Steel, MidWest Materials, Red Bud Industries, All Metals Service and Warehousing and Alliance Steel. We now have only three sponsor slots left. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor or exhibitor, please contact Jill Waldman at or myself at

I will have more about what is being said at the Port of Tampa Steel Conference in Thursday’s issue of SMU.

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?