Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

Some quick comments I received as I moved around the market today talking about steel prices:

JSW Ohio (Acero Junction mill) just got in 50,000 tons of slabs and is in the market.

Credit issues are becoming an issue for companies as their customers are reaching their limits sooner due to the high cost of steel.

Interest in placing orders with NAFTA countries is getting more serious as buyers think NAFTA will be resolved soon.

Most mills (not all) are reporting record earnings. Question some buyers are asking is, will they put some of their cash into updating mills and/or building new?

Plate mill lead time situations vary as SSAB has no spot tons to sell for rest of the year.

Our Steel Market Update member companies, as well as those who have attended past SMU Steel Summit Conferences, Steel 101 steel training workshops and other SMU workshops, are beginning to see some of the opportunities our CRU ownership is bringing to SMU. I highly recommend that you register for the upcoming CRU webinar on the North American steel market. The webinar will feature two of the CRU flat-rolled analysts: Josh Spoores (who will be on a panel at this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference) and Estelle Tran, along with CRU in-house economist Lisa Morrison. This is free to those associated with Steel Market Update and I encourage you to register. You can do so using this link.

Another way CRU is assisting SMU and our member companies is through their researchers and analysts. In tonight’s issue, we have an article about the recent blip up in iron ore spot prices in China. We were able to discuss iron ore with senior analyst Erik Hedborg of CRU who provided us with information for tonight’s article.

CRU has also been providing SMU with data on a wide variety of products from around the world. This has been very helpful as we try to better understand and relay information to our members. We have adjusted our foreign vs. domestic HRC steel price spread articles and data to use CRU non-domestic steel pricing (we use SMU HRC pricing for North American market). Previously, we were using Platts and SteelBenchmarker data, but we feel CRU is the premium price assessment service and our members would be best served by us using their data.

We are looking forward to CRU Executive Chairman Robert Perlman, as well as Research Manager Chris Houlden and Senior Analyst Josh Spoores, who will all address our SMU Steel Summit Conference at the end of August. There will be many executives from CRU at our conference. If you are attending, please take a moment to visit their exhibition booth and introduce yourself as you run across them during the conference.

Speaking of those of you who have attended a Steel 101 workshop (or have sent employees from your company), you will want to seriously consider attending and/or sending others from your company to our NEW Steel 201 workshop. We will cover the basics of the steelmaking process as well as how qualities of steel are made. From there we will kick up the learning curve as we get into “new” steels being produced by mills like AK Steel. How are these steels made (why are they made)? How can they be used? How do you process these steels?  How do you work with your supplier(s) – whether a mill or service center – on how to get the steel you need to make a part? There will be TWO tours – first, the AK Steel Research and Innovation Center (RIC) and the next day we will tour the AK Steel Middletown integrated steel mill. We have some new instructors for this workshop: Dean Linders of Red Bud Industries and Doug Bernd who recently retired from Steel Technologies. Joining Dean and Doug will be Chuck McDaniels and me, as well as metallurgists/engineers and commercial people from AK Steel. This will be an exceptional workshop for sales, purchasing, management and technical people from your company. You can learn more and register online:

We are working on having another Steel 101 workshop later this fall. More details as they become available.

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

John Packard, President & CEO

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