It’s hard to see the forest through the trees….
SMU hosted our first SMU Community Chat Webinar yesterday (Wednesday). There were a couple of glitches – all my fault. I turned off the video recording and was not able to get it back, so no recording of yesterday’s webinar. Josh Spoores (guest speaker from CRU) and I practiced earlier in the day, and sure enough when the actual webinar was in session, I couldn’t figure how to get his camera back on… It took about 15 seconds to figure out on the fly…it seemed like 20 minutes.
For those who are interested, we had 468 people register. After reviewing the registration list, it appears they were all active participants in manufacturing, distribution, steel mills, toll processors or suppliers of services to those industries. At one point I did look at my screen, which told me there were 413 people on the webinar. Considering we did not start taking registrations until Tuesday afternoon, I think we did quite well.
Josh Spoores is the Principal Analyst for Steel and Editor of the CRU Steel Sheet Monitor. He provided the CRU price forecast (low point will be in the low $400s) and demand forecast. We answered as many questions as we could during the 37 minutes we were online live. Both Josh and I received a number of questions after the webinar, which were also addressed.
I received many comments from those on the webinar telling me they were very pleased not only with the content, but the sense of “community” we are trying to build for the industry.
Being a bit of a perfectionist, the next one will be even better…
We will host a SMU Community Chat webinar every Wednesday at 11:00 AM Eastern Time (10 CT, 9 MT, 8 PT). You can click on this link to register. Once registered you will receive a confirmation email, which will contain the link to access the webinar (save it or post the link on your calendar). We will automatically send out a reminder one hour before the start of the webinar.
The subject of next week’s webinar will most likely focus on service centers and how various segments of the industry are responding to COVID-19 (demand, supply, stresses in the system, etc.). I have an invitation out for a speaker, but as of this writing had not yet received the response. Put us on your calendar.
Paige Mayhair is handling renewals, upgrades and new customers. She can be reached at 724-720-1012 or by email: Paige@SteelMarketUpdate.com
I’ve started wearing a mask into the grocery store (the only travel I am doing away from my neighborhood).
A tank of gas is now lasting more than a month (I don’t know how long as I haven’t had to do a refill in quite some time). I feel bad about not being able to take advantage of $1.80/gallon gas prices.
It’s 90 degrees and sunny on my side of Florida and we are not allowed anywhere near the beaches, parks or watering holes.
Let me know how you are handling working from home, and any creative ways you have found to keep yourself entertained when not working: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com
Due to Good Friday and the Easter Holidays, Steel Market Update will not publish on Sunday, April 12.
We will continue to watch market developments as they happen and will publish again on Tuesday.
May everyone have a safe, healthy holiday weekend with those within your “quarantine” community.
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
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.
What’s something going on in the market that no one is talking about? That’s a question on our survey, and was also posed to many who graced the stage at our Tampa Steel Conference. Perhaps another way to phrase that is “not talking about publicly” or connecting the dots of steel market chatter to find a uniting central issue. I thought one respondent to our survey really summed up the current moment: “Right now it is all politics.”