Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

My understanding from industry sources is that JSW Mingo Junction has returned their EAF and hot strip mill back to production this week. The mill was idled in April with JSW doing some work on the equipment. This will put some cheaper hot rolled coil into the market (one mill commercial officer telling me they would have to be $440-$460 in order to drum up some business), and perhaps put pressure on HRC. In the beginning, we anticipate they will be producing slabs for their Baytown plant. No response from the mill to our requests for comment.

Tomorrow’s SMU Community Chat webinar will feature buy-side expert Donald Bly of Applied Value. The webinar is free and will begin at 11 AM ET. Bly will use his unique perspective dealing with OEMs and other steel buying companies to discuss production, consumption and pricing of steel. He will speak about what manufacturing companies are doing to manage steel supply issues and how they are revaluating their supply chain looking at parts and products over a longer term (i.e. reshoring). I think you will find the information interesting and valuable. You can register for this webinar by clicking here. If you have any questions to ask Mr. Bly, please send them to: or you can ask them through the webinar software during the presentation.

I need everyone to shake off your webinar fog….

The 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference will not be a series of mind-numbing webinars.

It is time to give you a peek at a mock-up of the lobby for the 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Conference. When you click on your registration link for our virtual conference, you will enter through the lobby of the conference hall (see below). From there you will be able to access the auditorium(s), exhibition hall and networking lounge.

At the top tool bar you will see there are a number of options for our attendees to choose from: exhibition hall, lounge, auditorium(s), video vault (on-demand), resources, swag bag, networking and our surveys. From here, you will be able to see all the registered attendees (name, company name, their title and what business their company is in) and be able to interact with them.

You will also be able to interact with registered attendees in the networking lounge area. Once in the lounge, you will be able to see who is in the lounge with you. You will be able to interact with them via chat or request a one-on-one video meeting.

In the lounge there will be a series of chat rooms. After a speaker concludes their presentation, we are going to ask them to go to the networking lounge and make themselves available for more questions from our attendees. This will be a group discussion. You will be able to request a private chat with the speakers as well.

Each exhibitor/sponsor along with SMU and CRU will have chat rooms as well. When you click on an exhibitor/sponsor chat room you will be taken to their exhibition booth. From there you can speak privately with someone associated with that company. You will also be able to wander around the booth and collect brochures, watch videos, and enter whatever gamification events that a company may be presenting.

I mentioned “auditoriums” (plural). We are looking at having a second auditorium that will have a couple of functions. The most interesting being “speed networking.” I will leave that to your imagination for the moment….

Any SMU Steel Summit Conference, whether in person or virtual, will be an experience. We expect our attendees will enjoy the best speakers and valuable content on a wide array of subjects. We will also be the best place to interact with large numbers of executives from companies around North America (and the world for that matter).

We have more than 250 individuals already registered, including CEOs like David Burritt of U.S. Steel and Lourenco Goncalves of Cleveland-Cliffs/AK Steel.

When speaking with Philip Bell, president of the Steel Manufacturers Association, he told me to expect more “C-Suite” people at this event than normal. Time and travel are not an issue this year. Quality of content and attendees will mean the 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference is THE place to be on Aug. 24-26.

Prices are $450 for one person who has no affiliation with SMU or CRU. We have $50 per person discounts for SMU and CRU member companies. We also have another $50 per person discount for companies who register more than one person. This means SMU/CRU member companies with more than a single individual attending are paying $350 per person.

To learn more or ask questions, please send an email to: or click here for the conference website.

To register please click here.

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?