Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

This segment of the Steel Market Update newsletter is the area where I get to provide information about Steel Market Update, my views and opinions on various subjects and notifications/reminders about events or other items I think important for our readers.

I rarely dive into politics or political issues as I know the SMU membership is diverse and has many differing opinions. It is not my intention to alter those opinions. We are now just a few days from the mid-term elections. Many of you (myself included) may have already voted. Others enjoy the camaraderie of waiting in line with your friends and neighbors to vote on election day. This year that day is next Tuesday, Nov. 6. I hope everyone exercises their right as an American citizen and votes for the candidate(s) you feel will do the best job of moving this country and your local community forward.

When I joined the steel industry in 1977, I worked for Seymour Waldman who owned Rolled Steel Corporation in Skokie, Ill. (RSC was purchased by National Materials in the late ’70s/early ’80s.) The company had a diverse population with women in sales and purchasing positions, different ethnic groups, races and religions. As I traveled around, I found that the industry was a melting pot for immigrants, first-generation citizens along with those whose families had been involved with steel for generations.

I was disturbed by the senseless slaying at the synagogue in Pittsburgh this last week. Pittsburgh is not a single incident. This is not how I grew up in the steel industry and I am sure many of you feel the same way.

From my perspective, it is important that the industry I have grown to love over the years remain an inclusive, nurturing environment for every race, religion or sexual orientation. I hope when you see something that is wrong that you take the time to reflect on how this country and this industry have grown and prospered over the years. That’s my opinion; I welcome yours.

Now, back to steel comments. In the last issue, I made a big deal about how difficult it can be to properly index steel pricing. It takes an incredible amount of direct contact with buyers (and some sellers) and the sharing of information. It also takes a reasonable sense of what one plus one equals. In Tuesday’s issue, my math skills went wanting and $37.50/cwt was translated to $770 per ton, which was incorrect. The correct number is $750 per ton, which is the low end of our hot rolled range this week. The range in pricing we saw earlier this week was $750 to $840 per ton, with an average of $795 per ton ($39.75/cwt). We put out a correction yesterday morning, but I wanted to make sure that everyone was aware of the error, that it was my error and that it has been corrected in our system.  And, no, I can’t disclose which mills are at, or below, $800 per ton….

Steel Market Update is expanding the scope of our Service Center Inventories Analysis. This has always been part of the goal for the index, and we appreciate the service centers who are working with us to provide an exceptional product to help the distributors. All data collected, and who we collect data from, will remain strictly confidential. Much of the analysis will go directly back to the data providers.  In some cases, they will be the only ones who will have access to some pieces of data, like our Flash Report, which comes out just a few days after we begin collecting data once a month has closed. Our new data collection will begin at 8 a.m. tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 2). If your service center or wholesaler would like to be added as a data provider (with NDA available), please contact me at:

Our January 2019 Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals workshop is available for registration. You can do so by going to our website: where you can also find information about the program, instructors, hotel, etc. The dates in January are the 29th and 30th in Starkville, Miss., and we will tour the SDI Columbus steel mill.

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

John Packard, President & CEO

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