Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

A few weeks back I was having a conversation with the head of commercial for one of the domestic steel mills. The conversation centered around the influence Steel Market Update was having on their order book. In particular, the discussion focused on the SMU Price Momentum Indicator. I was told when our indicator moves to higher, it can have a dramatic impact on that mill’s order book.

I don’t know how accurate that statement was, or might be, this week with the change we just made with our Price Momentum Indicator. I intentionally try not to be “early” in pegging momentum. I believe the market needs to sort itself out without SMU giving it any kind of extra push in one direction or another.

John Packard Summit 18If you read my comments carefully you know that I have been stating the bottom of the market had been achieved shortly after the Nucor announcement. At the same time, there were still some deals to be made over the past two weeks, especially on hot rolled.

Today, I spoke with the mill with the newest operating EAF and they told me they were supporting the price increase, although not necessarily at the $700+ per ton levels suggested by some of the other steel mills.

The commercial manager of a coated mill told me earlier in the week they were not going to have any sub-$40 base prices, “…at least as our ask price. Whether people will pay it will be up to the market, but where I see it is that the market is due a true +$40 to +$50 from where it was a few weeks ago.” A few weeks ago, this mill had numbers as low as $37.50/cwt-$38.00/cwt base with the high end being around $39.00/cwt base plus extras.

Momentum can change quickly. Stay tuned to SMU to learn what is happening on the front lines as buyers and sellers square off to negotiate “true market pricing.”

A word from one of my good scrap sources earlier today: “Word is it [scrap] will go up $20 a ton across the board but sentiment alone can’t raise a market, so I have become a skeptic just today.” He added, “Export deals from the EU to Turkey are down $20 per tonne in last 48 hours.” Finishing with, “So, $20 may happen but will be short-lived.”

Canada’s Ambassador told reporters today that he is confident the Section 232 tariffs on steel and aluminum will be lifted off of Canada “in the next few weeks,” according to an article in Global News out of Canada. Wouldn’t that throw a monkey wrench into the market…?

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

John Packard, President & CEO

Latest in Final Thoughts