Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Ferrous scrap prices for Detroit came out late this afternoon. Prime grades (busheling and bundles) were up $10 per gross ton. There was no change to cut grades, and shredded scrap was down $10/GT.

On Wednesday, June 3, we will host our 9th SMU Steel Community Chat webinar. We will be discussing trade with trade attorney and SMU contributor Lewis Leibowitz. My goal is to provide a forum for a free exchange of ideas, and I will be asking some tough questions of Mr. Leibowitz that were given to me by one of the employees at Zekelman Industries.

The topic of trade is not cut and dried. I have explained that during my tenure representing a domestic steel mill I had the mill cancel orders because the tonnage was “inconvenient” to produce in a tight market.

Things have changed from what it was like in the late ’90s and early 2000s. New mills have been brought online capable of producing products that were in short supply. This trend continues with new mills being built by Steel Dynamics (flat rolled) and Nucor (plate).

Come join us at 11 AM Eastern Time (10 CT, 9 MT, 8 PT) for this free webinar. You can register by clicking here or by going to our website: www.SteelMarketUpdate.com/blog/smu-community-chat-webinar The website also contains the recordings and PowerPoint presentations from past speakers.

The 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference will be THE steel event of the year. Of this there is no doubt in my mind. It is going to take time to move what is still an “idea” for program changes into a format that I can easily explain to all of you.

Let me start by saying this: We will have more content during this event than any other we have ever done. We will have live programs and discussions, on-demand programs, subjects where we dig deeper than we have before, we will have more international content and speakers, great exhibitors and sponsors and an interesting platform from which you can network, attend sessions, visit exhibition booths, ask questions of speakers, and you will be able to interact with others who are on the platform.

Unlike a live conference, you will not miss out on a presentation. If you cannot view it live, you can take in the recording at your leisure.

The platform will remain open for a few weeks after the live sessions have concluded. This will allow you to dig into the presentations or visit with exhibitors that you may have missed.

The challenge for our team is how to make it interesting when you are sitting in your office or home? The answer is to make it fun, give you short power presentations with plenty of Q&A from the audience as well as discussion between panelists.

For example, I may have a speaker who is dealing with a topic that is somewhat technical or requires some preparation for the audience. We may have that information “on-demand” prior to the panel this speaker is on. You can view the information prior to the panel and be prepared to follow the discussion. You can follow the discussion and then go back to the on-demand material to answer questions that you might have. You have options that do not exist in a live event.

To attend the live SMU Steel Summit Conference, it would have cost $1,395 per person (full price) plus airfare, hotel, entertainment away from the venue and travel time. All in most individuals would have had to spend $3,000-$4,000 to attend, plus the time away from the office.

To attend the SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference, it will cost you $450 per person (full price, but we have $50 discounts for SMU/CRU members and an additional $50 if your company virtually sends more than one person) all in. Member companies can send four people to our virtual conference for $5 more than one full priced ticket for our live event (and still save a bundle on airfare, hotel, etc.).

To me there are three challenges:

  • Exceptional program with quality content and interesting speakers/panelists.
  • Ability to network with others at the event in real time.
  • The event must be entertaining from start to finish (and then some since you can access it for weeks after the event).

I understand it is all about numbers, just like our live event. I hope everyone thinks the same way as Ternium did when they found out we were going virtual. They added more people against their initial investment. Others are doing the same. Are we getting some cancellations? Yes, we are. However, more people are staying or expanding their participation than are cancelling. I want to thank you for your support.

Note: If you registered for the conference prior to our announcement of going virtual, you need to respond to our events team’s request for how you would like for us to treat the monies we already have. You can reach out to Events@SteelMarketUpdate.com with any questions or to arrange for someone to reach out to you.

Note: If you registered for a hotel room at one of the Marriott properties next to the Georgia International Convention Center, please be aware we have asked the hotel to cancel those reservations (only works if you used the SMU contact numbers and pricing). Those reservations will be cancelled on June 5 and you will be receiving refunds directly from the hotel after that date.

This is going to be a challenge, and for those of you who know me well, then you understand there is no mountain too high….

If you have questions, please feel free to reach out to me directly: John@SteelMarketUpdate.com or by phone at 770-596-6268.

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?