Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

The world is changing, it is not ending.

I expect the steel industry will go through some changes as well. In Europe, the car makers are closing manufacturing facilities. Europe seems to be a couple weeks ahead of us here in the United States. Will we see the same plant closures in a couple of weeks? How would closure of some of the largest manufacturing plants in the U.S. affect the steel industry? How would that scenario impact your business?

All these questions and no one has the answers because no one knows when the coronavirus will be defeated here in North America.

For now, business is good. Tim Triplett and I were on a conference call with a few dozen HARDI wholesalers who reported no impact on the demand for their galvanized steel products. The HARDI members supply the construction industry and they reported decent demand for their products so far. HARDI members are concerned about how quickly things are changing, though, and have decided to meet again in two weeks instead of the normal month.

As the HARDI members report construction projects as ongoing and demand being good, the Associated General Contractors (AGC) put out a press release asking that construction projects not be closed as a way of stopping the spread of the virus. “Given the precautions already in place, halting construction will do little to protect the health and safety of construction workers. But it will go a long way in undermining economic vitality by depriving millions of workers of the wages they will need over the coming days. At the same time, these measures have the potential to bankrupt many construction firms who have contractual obligations to stay on schedule or risk incurring significant financial penalties….” The AGC noted there were sporadic shutdowns occurring across the country.  SMU Note: AGC Chief Economist Ken Simonson will be a speaker at the 2020 SMU Steel Summit Conference slated for Aug. 24-26.

Yes, we are still taking registrations for the conference and we have registered twice as many people this year as we did last year at this point in the calendar. Our web traffic is quite strong and in the next 24 hours we will be updating our agenda as we release more of the speaker names for this year’s event. You can find more information about the conference by clicking here or going to

A note to those of you who might be concerned should we cancel the conference. Our policy is to return all registration monies should the conference be cancelled. We will be putting out a detailed note with our policy in the coming days.

Our Steel 101 workshops are postponed until such time as we feel comfortable we can schedule a date where there is minimal risk of infections. We are hoping to conduct one in June or early July (fingers crossed).

We learned the AISTech 2020 Conference has been postponed. The original date for the show was May 3-7.

I know many employees from manufacturing, distribution and even the steel mills are now working remotely from their homes. I understand the difficulties some of you will have working by yourself without the aid and comfort of your friends around you. I also know how productive one can be when working from home, as I have been doing it for the past 23 years.

SMU is going to write a series of articles on the subject from our perspectives. The first article is in tonight’s issue coming from Tim Triplett and Sandy Williams.

I encourage you to send me any thoughts/suggestions you might have that you think would help others to work more efficiently, or to just cope with the isolation of working from home. Please send your thoughts to:

We continue to run our business as normal (new normal) and I encourage you to contact Paige Mayhair with any questions you might have about upgrading to Premium, adding new members, renewing or becoming a new subscriber. Paige is working from home, so the best way to reach her is by email: or leave a message on her work number: 724-720-1012.

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

Last week was a newsy one for the US sheet market. Nucor’s announcement that it would publish a weekly HR spot price was the talk of the town – whether that was in chatter among colleagues, at the Boy Scouts of America Metals Industry dinner, or in SMU’s latest market survey. Some think that it could Nucor's spot HR price could bring stability to notoriously volatile US sheet prices, according to SMU's latest steel market survey. Others think it’s too early to gauge its impact. And still others said they were leery of any attempt by producers to control prices.