Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

For those of you who are new to our newsletter my final thoughts is an area where I get to muse about items I find important, or to provide my opinion, or just random thoughts that I may be having.

We are now in the last few days of September with Thursday of this week being the first day of October. The elections in the U.S. will be here before we know it (and I think we can all agree they can’t get here fast enough).

John Packard Summit 18The governor of Florida (where I live) has decided it is time to open up the state as if no pandemic existed. The number of cases has dropped in Florida, but the state still has a high percentage of positive tests.

According to the University of Washington ( is currently projecting 371,509 deaths in the U.S. by January 1, 2021. If the states ease restrictions (as Florida is doing) the number of deaths from COVID-19 are forecast to increase to 425,918. If all of the states had mandated masks the death toll would drop to 272,709 (we currently are at approximately 204,000 deaths).

As I mentioned previously, I was in the state of Maine for three weeks and it was interesting to be in a state that mandated masks, and everyone participated (including tourists from outside the state). The number of new cases during my visit was in the low single digits each day and I was not aware of the state having a new COVID related death during that time.

Now I am back in Florida and was thinking of getting ice cream in Stuart, Florida over the weekend. There is no mask ordinance in Martin County, Florida and no one on the streets of Stuart was wearing a mask. I decided an ice cream cone was not worth the risk (Palm Beach County has most, if not all of its people wearing masks). As you think of traveling for business or pleasure, this is one year where you need to be aware of the local ordinances and you may want to check the University of Washington website to see how well that area of the country is doing.

Interesting comment from one of our pig iron sources who is skeptical of pig iron demand “waning.” Our source does not think that is a for sure yet. “…Our mills cannot buy anything that ships before mid-December. Any demand blip in China could ensure prices stand pact or rise. Not to mention the NLMK outage. There is already a shortage of pig iron among the major mills. It should be interesting to see, if demand increases, how they are going to fare this winter.”

On Friday, Nucor Tubular Products advised their customers of their intention of increasing prices on new orders of HSS, pipe, mechanical and piling products by $50 per ton. The reason for the increase given was “…result of continued strong demand and increased raw material costs.” The mill advised they will price protect all orders booked prior to this announcement and sheduled to ship through October 23, 2020.

Flat rolled buyers should anticipate new price increases in the coming days.

SMU will bring back our SMU Community Chat Webinars beginning on Wednesday, October 7th. One of the speakers I am hoping to be able to bring to our webinar is Dr. David Schultz from Hamline University. Dr. Schultz is an expert on elections as well as election ethics. He spoke at this year’s SMU Virtual Steel Summit, and I think his observations a week or two prior to the election would be well received.

I have not yet selected a speaker for the October 7th webinar. If you have someone (or a subject) you would like for us to include please contact me at

Please note that our next Steel 101 workshop will be a virtual one scheduled to be held on October 20-21st. Registration and details should be up on our website early this week.

As always, your business is truly appreciated by all of us here at Steel Market Update.

John Packard, President & CEO

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