Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

You plan for as much as you can, and hope for the best…

My events team, coupled with the CRU events team out of London, made the determination about a week ago that it was not going to be possible to conduct the SMU Steel Summit Conference at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta at the end of August (24-26). We have been working diligently for months to create a viable option that meets the high standards we have set for our conference over the years. We had two options: cancel the conference and leave more than a thousand executives without our content and networking or provide a totally new experience – a virtual conference (not a webinar). After much study and discussion, we have opted to do what SMU always does – stick our neck out to provide you with a new and exciting experience!

The Best Laid Plans….

Our plan was to work on a well scripted document and article to be released in Sunday evening’s issue of SMU. We had worked with a couple of steel-related publications with ads for their upcoming June issues, not expecting one of them to “scoop” us and announce our virtual conference yesterday afternoon before we had all the pieces in place.

John Packard Summit 18Now What?

So, we are going to provide a new experience. One that includes one-on-one networking within the conference platform.

I can already sense a myriad of questions flying my way. What the heck does a virtual conference mean? What’s a platform? Isn’t this just a webinar with a new name? Why should I pay money for webinars that SMU (and others) are giving for free? I go to the SMU Steel Summit Conference because I want to be face-to-face with my customers and suppliers. Why would I give that up? What is this going to cost me?

I intend to answer every one of those questions and many others in the coming days and weeks.

Let me start with this. I would like everyone who has registered already to take a deep breath for a few days, speak with me directly if needed, or allow me some time to roll out what the virtual experience is going to be like, and why you and your coworkers are going to want to attend.

If you are not yet registered – registration at the new virtual conference price levels is now open. Click here to go to registration. The full price is $450 for a single executive who is not an SMU or CRU member company. If your company is a member, the number drops to $400 for a single person. If you register two or more executives from the same company and you are an SMU or CRU member company, the rate drops to $350 per person. If your company is not an SMU or CRU subscriber company and you are registering more than one person, the rate is $400 per person… Confused?

DSteel Summito You Trust Me?

If you have lived through one or more SMU Steel Summits, if you know my history for understanding what is necessary both for content and networking, then stick with me. I am commited to bringing value to you and your company.

So far, the sponsors and companies with multiple people already registered I have spoken to are still, as Tom Cullen of Magic Coil Products told me this afternoon, “all in” for this conference. Not just one person, their entire team(s) originally planned for a live event in Atlanta.

My goal is to make this as large and exciting as our live event in Atlanta.

I will have much more on the 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference in the coming days. The platform is under construction, our speakers are still with us as are our sponsors/exhibitors, and we anticipate an exciting experience.

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to 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

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.

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?