Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


We are seeing further erosion in flat rolled steel pricing this week with the possible exception of Galvalume. Our sources are advising that hot rolled numbers are being offered in the low $400’s for tons. As capacity reopens at integrated mills, the possibility exists for HRC prices to breach the $400 per ton level for mega orders and reach down to the low and mid $400’s for smaller orders. We did collect numbers as high as $480 per ton this week, so we are seeing a significant spread in the current numbers from high to low. SMU continues to have hot rolled, cold rolled and galvanized price momentum pointing to lower pricing over the next 30 days. We are neutral on Galvalume and plate.

John Packard Summit 18I conversed with an international mill who told me their international business is “booming.” Iron ore is priced around $110 per metric ton, slabs are selling well, long products are selling well. However, the U.S. is lagging the rest of the world.

The expectation is ferrous scrap will be sideways to lower again next month before potentially rebounding later this year.

There is also an expectation of even lower import numbers as we move into September and beyond, thus tightening supply (assuming demand continues to return). This could set up an interesting situation for steel prices as we move into the fourth quarter.

Of course, this assumes the country will not be in lockdown. I live in Florida and I have begun the process of preparing to be back in lockdown soon. The pandemic is out of control here, and only getting worse. There are issues in other states such as Texas, California and Arizona.

During last week’s survey we asked, “Are you, or your company, concerned about the rising numbers of COVID-19 cases in the South and Southwest, and do you think another “pause” in the economy will be necessary?” About 39 percent of the respondents believe a pause will be necessary (61 percent do not). I will be curious what these numbers will look like in another week or two?

Wednesday’s SMU Community Chat (free webinar) will be on the HRC and ferrous scrap futures markets, hedging and the “how to’s” associated with working with financial instruments to manage price risk. Our guest speaker will be Andre Marshall, CEO of Crunch Risk, LLC. You can register by clicking here or going to: www.SteelMarketUpdate.com/blog/smu-community-chat-webinars

After providing Tom Cullen, CEO of Magic Coil Products, a sneak preview of the platform for the 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference he told us, “Wow! There is a lot to this.”

Steel SummitSo far, every single industry executive with whom we have shared insights into our platform (think of a platform as a special website dedicated to just our conference) have been amazed at the amount of work we have done to ensure our attendees enjoy the experience. Enjoyment will come from being entertained with quality presentations on subjects of importance as well as the ability to network with existing customers or suppliers and make new contacts.

Yesterday, we shared the platform with one of our sponsors who asked the question, “Why do I need to send more than one person to the event, when I can just share my screen with them?”

The answer is “networking.” Just like a live conference, successful networking is done through introductions and one-on-one conversations. If there is only one person there from your company, then your opportunities to conduct meetings and meet new people are going to be greatly reduced. We will have hundreds of companies attending and the best time to network is when they are online interacting with our platform. Besides, the cost is very reasonable at $350 for SMU/CRU members sending more than one person to the event. No travel costs, no hotel, no restaurant charges, no hangovers….

Another reason is you finally have an opportunity to expose young executives in sales, purchasing, marketing, finance, customer service, etc., to a conference that will help them in so many ways as they strive to make their mark on the industry. It won’t cost you $2,000-$4,000 to send an attendee. For $350-$450 per person you can expose them to numerous steel mill executives (including CEO’s), industry analysts (many not seen on webinars) and economists, steel buyers and industry experts. And we have a youth program that your human resources people are not going to want to miss. Oh, and we have an expert on elections and election ethics to discuss this year’s presidential and congressional votes. Oh, and they get to interact with other attendees…

Speaking of youth… we are taking nominations for the 2020 NexGen Leadership Award. We decided today to offer a free registration to this year’s conference for any qualified nominee. For more information about how to make a nomination and who is qualified click here or send an email with your questions to: Events@SteelMarketUpdate.com

Here are some of the registrations from today: New Process Steel*, ArcelorMittal, McNeilus Steel*, Emerson Electric*, Goldman Sachs*, Valmont, Zeeco Metals, General Stamping & Metalworks*, Tokusen USA, Inc., Whirlpool, Andritz ASKO, Weyland GmbH, Carlisle Construction, BlueScope Steel America*, Arrowhead Steel (* denotes more than one person). For a look at the companies registered to attend, please click here. If you do not see your company on the list, and you believe that is an error, please reach out to: Events@SteelMarketUpdate.com

To register click here.

If you have questions about the conference, please send them to Events@SteelMarketUpdate.com or you are welcome to direct them to me at John@SteelMarketUpdate.com

 As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us 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?