Is that the sun rising, or a speeding train…?
17 Days to Go for Start of 2020 SMU Virtual Steel Summit Conference.
The number of executives from manufacturing, distribution, steel mills, trading companies, toll processors, banks, trucking companies, scrap companies, paint companies and suppliers to the industry is now in the mid-600’s heading toward 700 registered attendees. My goal continues to be 800+ (so go out there and tell your industry friends they need to sign up: www.smusteelsummit.com).
New registrations over the last 24 hours: Steel Dynamics* (15 executives, thank you), Phillips Manufacturing*, SSAB, State Steel Supply*, OWC*, California Steel Industries, Pacific Steel & Recycling, PGT Trucking, Steel Sales America and more (those with an * denotes more than one executive registered within past 24 hours)…. You can join them by clicking here. If you have questions, please reach out to Events@SteelMarketUpdate.com
Question of the day?
“John, I love your live conference. I just don’t see myself sitting in front of a computer screen for 4, 5 or 6 hours during the workday. Why is it worth it for me to attend your virtual conference?”
Good question and a legitimate one that we had to consider when making the decision to move from a live event to a virtual one. We expect registered attendees will jump in and out of the platform as the day goes on. We built the platform to work with your office calendar so you could easily block your calendar for those presentations that you would like to see live (and maybe ask the speakers questions).
The advantage of a virtual event is you do not have to miss anything. You can watch it live, or you can go back and watch it “on-demand.” Because the platform will remain open prior to the day’s beginning, or into the evening, as well as for a week or two after the conference has concluded, you will have ample time to see all of the speakers, exhibitors and on-demand materials. By the way, some content will be available on an “on-demand only” basis. A virtual event allows us to add extra content, or expand on a subject that a speaker cannot cover in the allotted time slot.
This is important to consider when you review the strength of our agenda, the speakers, and the way the program will be run. You can clearly see how powerful a program we will have. There will be more interaction between speakers and myself. We will focus on core issues regarding the pandemic, the economy, specific market segments, steel-related issues, pricing forecasts as well as leadership and attracting and retaining young people to your organization.
Then there is networking. Yes, you will be able to meet new people, and if you are creative, I anticipate there will be new business being conducted during our conference. You will have the ability to email, chat via an instant message type service and video chat with up to 25 people at one time – all while on the SMU Steel Summit platform.
Oh, and the cost is probably equal to a good dinner with one customer and a decent bottle of wine. Now is the time to let your young leaders attend a conference, human resources (we will have information valuable to HR in this year’s program), purchasing, sales, customer service, GM’s, VP’s, Presidents & CEO’s. There is no excuse for not attending this year’s event!
We had Lisa Goldenberg of Delaware Steel and Michael Barnett of Grand Steel as co-speakers earlier this week for our SMU Community Chat Webinar. It is unusual for privately held companies to get together and talk as frankly as they did about the market. You may want to view the recording, which you can access by clicking here or going to: www.SteelMarketUpdate.com/blog/smu-community-chat-webinars and clicking on the Aug. 5 webinar link.
Next week we have Tim Gill, Chief Economist for the American Iron and Steel Institute. You can register for that free event by clicking here.
I want to congratulate Brett Linton in our office. On Monday, his wife is scheduled to give birth to their first son. Brett will be out of the office next week (Brett@SteelMarketUpdate.com). Brett, please come back well rested….:-)
As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.
John Packard, President & CEO
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Latest in 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.
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?
Everyone knows the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Just because it’s a cliché doesn’t mean that it’s wrong. A lot of inked has been spilled trying to figure out why prices are falling now. I thought it might be as simple as this: Market dynamics in the fourth quarter (UAW strike, companies buying ahead of an anticipated post-strike price spike, etc.) pulled forward restocking activity that typically happens in the first quarter.
What a difference a month makes. There are a few full bulls left in the room, but their numbers are dwindling. We’ll release results of our full steel market survey tomorrow afternoon. I took a sneak peak at the data on Thursday. And more people than I expected think that US hot-rolled (HR) coil prices will be in the $700s per short ton (st) two months from now. Vanishingly few think prices will be above $1,000/st in mid-April.
Sheet prices have fallen again this week on shorter lead times, higher imports, and potentially higher inventories. (We’ll see for sure when we release our service center shipment and inventory data next week.) I remember reporting almost exactly the same thing about a month ago and getting a fair amount of pushback. Not so much these days.