Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

Earlier today I moved our Price Momentum Indicator to Lower from Neutral. I explained my reasoning in an article in tonight’s issue.

What happens should one of the steel mills announce a price increase within the next couple of weeks? With scrap poised to move higher, and lead times being decent at most of the mills (although we understand there are some holes opening), and U.S. Steel about to take capacity offline, there could be a move to raise prices.

Our normal procedure would be to move our indicator to Neutral. However, since we just moved it to Lower, we would not adjust until multiple mills announce and their salespeople make moves to limit price negotiations.

Did you ever wonder what is in the PowerPoint presentation which is given to our survey data providers as well as our Premium subscribers? The presentation is 44 slides in length, and this week we covered a wide variety of topics:

  • Breakdown of who participated in this week’s survey
  • The SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index (Current & Future)
  • Overall Demand (current and historical perspective)
  • Steel Price Direction
  • Domestic Mill Order Books (holes developing?)
  • Manufacturers Purchases of flat rolled steel (current & historical views)
  • Steel Releases by End Users at Service Centers (current & historical views)
  • Manufacturers Demand for Next 3 Months (current & historical views)
  • Manufacturer and Service Center Inventory Buying Patterns (change from one month earlier)
  • Manufacturer Inventory Buying History
  • Service Center Inventory Buying History
  • Service Center Need to Buy Inventories
  • Manufacturer View of Service Center Selling Prices (current & historical view)
  • Service Center View of Spot Selling Prices (current & historical view)
  • Service Center View of Spot Selling Prices with Mill Price Increases on Timeline
  • Service Center Difficulties in Passing Higher Steel Prices
  • Service Centers on Manufacturing Order Patterns (current & historical view)
  • Generic Mill Lead Times (manufacturers and service centers reporting – both current & historical views)
  • Generic Mill Lead Times by Product (historical view)
  • Generic Mill Willingness to Negotiate Pricing (historical view)
  • Foreign Steel Buyers (manufacturers & service centers)
  • Foreign Steel Price Competitiveness (manufacturers & service centers responding)
  • Are You Buying Foreign Steel Now? (manufacturers & service centers)
  • Trading Companies Increase in Orders?
  • Trading Companies: Are Foreign Steel Prices Competitive?
  • Trading Companies’ View on Galvanized and Galvalume Pricing
  • Trading Companies’ View of Plate Price Offers

If these items are of interest to you, and you are currently an Executive member, you may want to upgrade your membership to Premium which receives the data listed above. You can learn more by contacting Paige Mayhair at or by phone at 724-720-1012.

We continue to have strong bookings for our next Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals Workshop which will be held on March 31 and April 1 in Merrillville, Ind. (just outside of Chicago). We will tour the NLMK Portage steel mill as part of our workshop. You can learn more by clicking here or going to

We continue to be on a record pace in early bookings for the 2020 SMU Steel Summit Conference. Our first agenda is now on our website, you can also find what companies attended last year as well as information on costs and how to register on our website:  If you have any question, please contact us at

By the way, what conference increases the size of the venue, adds more benefits and programs and keeps the admission price the same as the prior year? That is exactly what SMU and our CRU parent have done with the 2020 SMU Steel Summit Conference.

If you would like to be a sponsor or exhibitor at what will be the largest flat rolled and plate steel conference in North America, please contact Jill Waldman at or by phone at 303-570-6570.

I will be in my office this week until Thursday. I will be in Phoenix beginning Thursday evening and through the weekend, and then I will be in San Antonio for the FMA conference next week.

Should you or your group have interest in having someone from Steel Market Update speak at your company or event please contact me at

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

John Packard, President & CEO

Latest in Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

What's the tea in the steel industry this week? Here's the latest SMU gossip column! Just kidding... kind of. Yes, some of the comments we receive in our weekly flat-rolled market steel buyers' survey are honestly too much to put into print. Some make us laugh. Some make us cringe. Some are cryptic. Most are serious. We appreciate them all. Below are some highlights from our survey results this week. Some of the comments that we can share with you are also included, in italics, in the buyers' own words, with minimal editing on our part.