Zooming – sounds like a new drug, doesn’t it?
We will be hosting another SMU Community Chat Webinar on Wednesday, April 22, at 11:00 a.m. ET (and I promise to hit the “start” button on time this week). Speaking with me will be Bernard Swiecki of the Center for Automotive Research (CAR). We will discuss how automotive has been affected by the coronavirus and how automotive demand will look when this is behind us (and how soon manufacturing plants will return). Every week I give a few insights into what I am hearing in the marketplace and/or what we are collecting from our surveys. You can register for this week’s webinar by clicking here.
All SMU Community Chat Webinars are free to anyone in the industry. So, invite your steel-related friends, suppliers, customers.
There are some important products provided to our Premium level customers. SMU conducts our flat rolled and plate market trends analysis every other week. The purpose of our questionnaire is to build a baseline of information about a whole host of subjects. This is done by canvassing manufacturing companies, service centers, steel mills, trading companies, toll processors and suppliers to those industries. We purposely focus our collection energies on two main groups: manufacturing companies and service centers/wholesalers.
Our Premium members can access a PowerPoint presentation of a large portion of the responses collected. The presentation is put into a historical perspective to give it more depth. If you would like to see what one of these PowerPoint presentations looks like, click here.
This week’s presentation has 46 slides, up from 41 in the past. We will be expanding this presentation for our Premium members as soon we add the steel mill responses to the package.
Each individual bi-weekly questionnaire has a time sensitive component to it. Last week we were looking for more information about demand, and what our respondents were anticipating for changes in their business through the end of this month. We shared a portion of the results with everyone this evening. However, there is much more, and we will provide article(s) to our Premium members on what else we discovered.
Premium members receive our proprietary service center inventories and shipment analysis.
Premium members receive a wide spectrum of analytical articles and data including: Overall Demand, Inventory Buying Patterns, Inventory Release Trend, Manufacturers Purchases, Imports by Port by Country.
We are now adding new content from CRU into our Premium product. This will include economic forecasts, steel forecasts, world views of steel demand, commodities and other proprietary products coming from the 200+ analysts at CRU from around the globe.
If you would like to upgrade your Executive newsletter subscription to Premium, or if you would like more information, please contact Paige Mayhair at 724-720-1012 or Paige@SteelMarketUpdate.com. Also, please be advised Jill Waldman is now assisting Paige and she can be reached at 303-570-6570 or Jill@SteelMarketUpdate.com
As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, President & CEO
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Latest in Final Thoughts
I’ve had discussions with some of you lately about where and when sheet prices might bottom. Some of you say that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices won’t fall below $800 per short ton (st). Others tell me that bigger buyers aren’t interested unless they can get something that starts with a six. Obviously a lot depends on whether we're talking 50 tons or 50,000 tons. I've even gotten some guff about how the drop in US prices is happening only because we’re talking about it happening.
We’ve all heard a lot about mill “discipline” following a wave of consolidation over the last few years. That discipline is often evident when prices are rising, less so when they are falling. I remember hearing earlier this year that mills weren’t going to let hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fall below $1,000 per short ton (st). Then not below $900/st. Now, some of you tell me that HR prices in the mid/high-$800s are the “1-800 price” – widely available to regular spot buyers. So what comes next, and will mills “hold the line” in the $800s?
Everyone knows the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. A lot of inked has been spilled trying to figure out why prices are falling now. I thought it might be as simple as this: Market dynamics in the fourth quarter (UAW strike, companies buying ahead of an anticipated post-strike price spike, etc.) pulled forward restocking activity that typically happens in the first quarter.
What a difference a month makes. There are a few full bulls left in the room, but their numbers are dwindling. We’ll release results of our full steel market survey tomorrow afternoon. I took a sneak peak at the data on Thursday. And more people than I expected think that US hot-rolled (HR) coil prices will be in the $700s per short ton (st) two months from now. Vanishingly few think prices will be above $1,000/st in mid-April.
Sheet prices have fallen again this week on shorter lead times, higher imports, and potentially higher inventories. (We’ll see for sure when we release our service center shipment and inventory data next week.) I remember reporting almost exactly the same thing about a month ago and getting a fair amount of pushback. Not so much these days.