Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

I received a call from Cleveland-Cliffs in response to an inquiry I had made a couple of weeks back regarding the #6 blast furnace at their Cleveland steel mill. Cliffs wanted to make sure I understand as the #6 blast furnace comes back online that it is not to increase production, only to replace the furnace at Middletown that is going down for maintenance. Cliffs is not interested in increasing supply into this market, which will help keep prices high over a longer period of time.

Last week we conducted one of our flat rolled and plate steel market trends analyses and in the process we inquired about mill performance. We asked those responding to our survey if they were able to purchase all of the material needed to run their business or to keep their customers satisfied. We found 59 percent of the respondents were not able to purchase enough material.

A second question regarding mill performance was if the mill deliveries were running on time? We defined “on time” as being +/- two weeks from the original promise date. Only 3 percent reported the mills as being “early,” 15 percent were “on time” and 82 percent reported the mills as exceeding the two-week window and were “late” in their deliveries.

We also asked if the higher steel prices were affecting credit terms and our respondents’ ability to buy all the steel they needed (or if their customers were able to buy all the steel they need)? About 65 percent of those responding reported credit as being an issue that is impacting either their ability to buy steel or their customers’ ability to purchase all the steel they require.

Tampa.Steel.ConferenceI had meetings with a few of the Tampa Steel Conference speakers late last week. I am excited by what a number of the speakers are going to share with our attendees. Dr. Walter Kemmsies will shock the steel industry with his steel forecast. We have an exceptional trade panel that includes a manufacturing company, a trade lawyer and the president of the Steel Manufacturers Association. This will be a free-wheeling panel discussion (not presentations), and I expect a few surprises will creep into the conversation.

Timna Tanners and Josh Spoores will provide their forecast for steel prices and a look at what 2021 will bring for the industry.

I will be one-on-one with Nucor CEO Leon Topalian and we will have a presentation from Kevin Dempsey, the newly installed president and CEO of the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Rebecca Brewster, President and COO of the American Transport Research Institute, will discuss issues within the trucking industry, and Derek Langston, head of consultancy at Simpson Spence Young (SSY), will discuss the shipping industry.

The Tampa Steel Conference will be held on Tuesday, Feb. 2, and our platform will be open later this week so you can set your calendar (which can be done through our platform), see who is attending and make appointments (which can be done through our platform), review our agenda, see speaker bios, and interact with our exhibitors/sponsors. We will have one packed day that you will not want to miss, and you can afford. The cost to attend is $150 per person for non-SMU/CRU companies. It is $125 per person for SMU/CRU companies, and there is an additional $25 per person discount for any company sending two or more people to the event. For more details on the agenda and how to register click here.

Speaking of Tampa Bay, congratulations to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers who will be the first team to host a Super Bowl in their home stadium.

A quick note to point out, our next Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals Workshop will be held on Feb. 9-10. You can learn more about the agenda, instructors, what past attendees had to say, costs and how to register 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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