Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

A couple of comments regarding possible price increase announcements as we go into first-quarter 2019 made today as I canvassed the flat rolled and plate steel markets pricing.

“Mills appear to be much more sanguine on prices than I’ve seen in a while. I’m hearing them say that once all of the mills are done filling December, they believe an increase attempt will be likely, but they’ll likely wait until after the holidays, in the hopes that it will increase the chances for an increase to stick. Most are hoping we see a more or less stable price in Q1, aware that there’s still downside risk.” Service Center

“All mills in the south feel optimistic about pricing moving upwards in Q1, but less than optimistic of them holding as we enter Q2 and for the rest of year. Overall, buyers I talk to are still reducing inventory and very cautious. Some great deals around Houston for coil, but not many buyers are buying, so prices continue to drop.” Service Center

“I am trying to get info from our mill contacts at AMD, AM, Stelco, Algoma, AK, SDI, Nucor, U.S. Steel if there are any price announcements coming. All are staying mute. We have an internal bet at the office. I say the week we come back from Christmas break or sooner. They like the $800 HR threshold.” Manufacturing Company

I am in Toledo, Ohio, which is very definitely colder than Florida. We have a sold-out Steel 101 workshop, which went very well this morning as SMU instructors Roger Walburn, Chuck McDaniel and Steve Painter explained the steelmaking process from dirt to finished coil, plate or long product. This afternoon, the group went to North Star BlueScope steel to see in real time what was discussed in the morning session. This evening we have a networking cocktail party and dinner as the group gets to know one another and the industries they represent. It’s all part of the process.

I canvassed the Steel 101 attendees this morning and was surprised at how many were not readers of our newsletter, even though many of them were associated in one form or another with the purchasing of flat rolled steel products. One of the reasons I started Steel Market Update 10 years ago was to build a company that shared market information with a wide variety of people within a single company. I want the young people coming up through each organization to have information that they can easily get by reading our newsletter (and others, but ours should be at the top of the list). If you would like to add more people from your company to your membership, please contact

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

John Packard, President & CEO

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