Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

We don’t get to choose when we were born. We don’t choose what natural disasters, epidemiological emergencies, stock market crashes, tyrannical regimes, or wars our generations face. We only get to choose how we react. (Professor Wendy Beth Hyman of Oberlin College to her students on March 11, 2020).

Thank you for bearing with us over the past few days as we gave our employees some well-deserved time off and we did not publish on Thursday of last week and again on Sunday.

We are now back and working on all cylinders. If you have any questions for us, please feel free to ask away:

Ferrous scrap started trading today at down $20 on obsoletes and down $40 on prime grades (bundles and busheling). Ryan McKinley, scrap expert for CRU, will discuss what he is finding on buying activity and supply when he speaks during our SMU Community Chat webinar tomorrow at 11 AM ET. The webinar is free to anyone who would like to attend. This is a good way to expose your junior executives, sales, purchasing and those who continue to work outside the office to what is going on in the industry. You can register for this free webinar by clicking here or by going to our website:

We are conducting one of our flat rolled and plate steel market trends surveys this week. We will provide a sneak peek at a couple of items during tomorrow’s webinar. Otherwise, we will begin articles in the Thursday and Sunday night issues of SMU.

Our Service Center “Flash” report will go out to data providers tomorrow. If you are a service center selling prime flat rolled or plate products and you would like information about becoming a data provider, and what you receive for being a confidential data provider, please contact or

We are now pushing 400 registered attendees for the 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference including those added today: 3GM Steel, Luminus Management, FCA US LLC, Lennox International*, Caterpillar Mexico, Mitsui Steel, North American Steel, Trinity Industries, and Steel Technologies* (* denotes more than one person is registered). You can join the hundreds of companies who will be attending (and networking) if you click here. You can also find more information on our website and click on the SMU Virtual Steel Summit link on the site. You can see a more complete list of the registered companies by clicking on this link. The list is updated every few days.

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?