Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

I anticipate next week’s spot hot rolled and other flat rolled steel prices will be higher than what we reported on Tuesday evening (HRC = $1,080 per ton average). We received information from an end user today of hot rolled purchases of $1,140 per ton for end of March/early April production. An order for HR base galvanized was placed at a $64.00/cwt base price. The same end user advised that U.S. Steel quoted $1,350 per ton for HRC (+$210 per ton above order placed). New offers out of Turkey on foreign hot rolled were quoted at $52.00/cwt for late April delivery ($1,040 per ton), which is $100 per ton below the domestic order placed. The spreads from mill to mill and foreign to domestic are crazy right now.

Here are some of the issues Steel Market Update is watching:

  • Demand destruction and how the high prices are affecting steel users.
  • Credit issues and how they make it difficult for fabricators and OEMs to finance all the material they need.
  • The takeover of ArcelorMittal USA operations by Cleveland-Cliffs and how they will handle those assets, especially blast furnaces that are currently idled.
  • How integrated producer U.S. Steel operates the Big River Steel EAF mill it acquired last year in Arkansas.
  • Changes in foreign steel offers and import levels, which are at all-time lows.
  • Service center inventories and shipments as well as inbound orders (premium and data providers only).
  • Lead times and how they impact price negotiations.
  • The ramifications of a new administration in the White House and how they will deal with the Section 232 tariffs and other trade-related issues.  

John Packard Summit 18“Today’s session was exceptional,” was what Olympic Steel CEO Richard Marabito said about the SMU Community Chat held on Wednesday. “Thanks for putting these webinars together…very helpful to all of us in the industry.”

On Wednesday, we hosted one of our SMU Community Chat Webinars. The speakers were SMU Senior Editor Michael Cowden and me. We discussed the current market situation, went through some of the data points produced based on last week’s flat rolled and plate steel market trends survey, and we discussed supply and demand issues as we tried to provide balance based on the conversations we have been having with buyers and sellers of steel. You can access the webinar, which is a free service provided by SMU, by clicking here or going to

I sat in on the first recording with Spencer Johnson of StoneX on our Steel Hedging 101: Introduction to Managing Price Risk Workshop. I found his presentation, pace of information and explanations excellent for someone who is new to the concept of futures trading or who is not totally comfortable with managing price risk concepts. The first virtual workshop will be at the end of this month (January 26 & 27). We are hosting the workshop over a two-day period, however, the workshop is actually two half-days, which allows for you to work in your normal jobs, and time to absorb the information or to go back and review information that may have gotten away from you (i.e. you have the ability to watch content on demand). You can learn more and register for this workshop by clicking here. There will be an advanced Steel Hedging 201: Strategies & Execution workshop conducted on Feb. 23-24. You can learn more by clicking here.

We are quickly approaching 300 registered for the Feb. 2 Tampa Steel Conference. Here are the registrations from this week (those with an * mean more than one person is registered from that company): All Metals*, AKZO Nobel Coatings Inc., Atlantic Logistics*, Caribbean Containers, LLC, CEMCO, Central Florida Development Council, Consolidated Terminals & Logistics Company, Duluth Seaway Port Authority, Famous Enterprises*, Ferret, Inc., Gerdau, Gerdau Tampa Office, GMS, Klauer Manufacturing Company*, Medtrade, Inc.,*, Mid-Ship Logistics, Napoleon Spring Works, New Hampshire Industries, Nippon Steel North America, Inc., Phillips 66, Ports America, Priefert Mfg. Co Inc.*, Rheem Manufacturing*, Siskin Steel and Supply*, Tampa Steel & Supply, Tata International Metals (Americas) Ltd, Trinity Industries, TrueNorth Steel, Verde Industries Inc., Vicwest Building Products, Watco, Wisconsin Steel & Tube Corporation*.

You can learn more about our program, speaker bio’s, and what it will cost to join the anticipated 400+ executives who will attend this virtual one-day conference by clicking here.

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

John Packard, President & CEO,

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