Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard


Last week Steel Market Update adjusted all of the flat rolled price momentum indicators from Neutral to Higher. We made the decision to move hot rolled, cold rolled, galvanized and Galvalume to higher due to prices already beginning to track up from the low levels achieved over the past couple of weeks. We also made the move now as we are starting to capture lead times beginning to move out, and mills tightening negotiation flexibility over the past week to two weeks.

2020 SMU Steel Summit Central 8.23.2020Momentum referenced as being Higher means we believe flat rolled steel prices will rise over the next 30 days.

However, we are not of the opinion that prices will shoot higher from here, but rather make small moves as scrap prices tighten. We will be watching to make more sense as to what the true supply and demand balance is as new supply comes into the market.

NLMK USA being on strike at their Farrell, Pa., steel mill will help to tighten spot prices.

We continue to keep plate momentum as being neutral.

We will not have an SMU Community Chat Webinar this week due to the SMU Steel Summit Conference being conducted. After the conference has concluded, I will be taking my first extended vacation since I began SMU in August 2008. I will be out of the office until Monday, Sept. 21. I am going to try to disengage with work for a bit. This conference has taken a lot out of this old body of mine….

2020 SMU Steel Summit Crew 8.23.2020The 2020 SMU Steel Summit Conference was probably the most difficult project I have done in many years. It was a team effort and I need to give credit to Nicky Coslett, Anna Chamberlain Webber, Paul Terry, Emma Phillips, Hayley Ward, Tom Willatt and many others from the CRU events team in London along with Jill Waldman, Ray Culley, Tim Triplett, Sandy Williams and Brett Linton on the SMU team. I also want to recognize the production/AV team at Rec Media that is working with London and me out of my house in Hobe Sound, Fla.

The photos to the left are of me recording some of the intros to the various programs last week. The second photo is some of the production crew here in my home earlier today (Sunday) as we prepare to launch early tomorrow morning.

If you like the show – let us know. Mario Briccetti will be doing video recordings of the reaction to the platform. Please reach out to Mario within the platform if you would like to say something on the record.

Enjoy the conference this week. We will not be writing a lot of stories about the conference as we want to save the show for those who registered.

The newsletters this week will be a little shorter than normal with all of our people focused on the conference (or maybe not depending on what is happening in the industry).

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?