Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

It’s a beautiful day in Maine. I spoke to the Chain Link Fence Manufacturers Institute this morning. The group was engaged and had many questions regarding the Section 232 tariffs.

I was followed by Dr. Lynn Reaser, the Chief Economist for the Fermonian Business & Economic Institute. She works specifically with the CLFMI and she provided forecasts specifically tailored to their industry. However, before she did that she did a general overview of the global and U.S. economies.

She reported China’s economy as slowing, Europe as slowing and that the synchronized expansion she reported to the group last November is now disconnected from the U.S., which is still expanding.

Dr. Reaser forecast U.S. GDP for 2018 to be 3.1 percent. There will continue to be a slowly rising interest rate environment. She pointed out that the Federal Reserve Board would soon have all seven appointees nominated by President Trump.

She also pointed out the correlation between the two-year and 10-year interest rates, which are climbing at different rates and the spread may soon reach zero. That is one of the best indicators of a recession, which she forecast would happen in 2020.

There are four factors Dr. Reaser pegged as risks to her forecast, and she provided the possibility of these risks becoming reality: Trade War – risk is 25 percent; Stock Market Correction/Crash – risk is 20 percent; Inflation – risk is 15 percent; and Europe Splintering – risk is 10 percent.

She finished her talk with a saying we have heard many times recently: “We live in interesting times,” and concluded with, “We’ll get through this, hang in there.”

We have added a couple of new speakers/panelists to this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference and I will be providing a detailed look at the full program including all of the speakers and the subjects they will be covering early next week.

I am very pleased with the program we have spent many months putting together. I am confident those who attend our conference will be pleased with our program, the networking opportunities, which are second to none, and the value received for the prices paid.

If you have not yet registered, you can still do so by going to or by contacting our office: 772-932-7538 or by emailing us:

Hotel rooms for the conference are scarce at the Gateway hotels (those closest to the convention center). We have made special arrangements with the Atlanta Airport Marriott Hotel, which is about one mile away, to provide a shuttle to the convention center during the conference. The rate for that hotel is $151 per night and can be booked through our website or by calling 1-888-239-1203 and asking for the Steel Market Update room block.

If you are having any issues with hotel reservations or have any questions, please contact us at

As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, President & CEO

Latest in Final Thoughts