Steel Products

SMU CEO: Flat Rolled Steel Prices Not Dropping (Yet)...

Written by John Packard

A one-hundred-ton order of hot rolled at $1,680 does not mean the sky is falling.

One of our competitors is writing that flat rolled steel prices are starting to decline. We conducted channel checks on Friday, and we did not find any evidence of that being the case. Sure, you can collect a low order from time to time. We find slab rolling orders creep into the numbers, special favors, some excess inventory. When it comes to steel prices what matters is what is repeatable.

John Packard Summit 18A large end user told us benchmark hot rolled offers were running $1,700 to as high as $1,870. They are saying there are no signs from their mill suppliers (which is about everyone) of a change in price direction. They are concerned the weather in Texas is going to slow the SDI Sinton construction. There are also those who understand there are more than a million tons of scheduled maintanence at the domestic mills during the 4th Quarter of this year.

Having personally worked at a mill and watched two new galvanizing lines come on-stream, I know things can get backed up and don’t always go as planned. My personal opinion is we are a bit early to pull the panic button.

Everyone wants to be the first to call the peak to this market cycle. It will peak, and it will probably peak sooner than some think, and much later than others. For now, SMU continues to see the market momentum as moving higher, although I expect the rate of change may slow as we creep toward $1,800 per ton….

Whatever the case, our conference is (once again) perfectly timed.

54 Days to Go…

No, not to the next family holiday, but to our next conference. The SMU Steel Summit Conference is at that point when it consumes an incredible amount of my time and focus. I believe this is the 11th SMU Steel Summit Conference since they began. Our very first conference was in Las Vegas, and the ticket price was $100 per person. Since then, we hosted one conference in Chicago and one in downtown Atlanta. The first three conferences were in conjunction with Metalcon.

We ended our relationship with Metalcon and moved the conference to its permanent location beside the Atlanta International Airport. I used to drive by the Georgia International Convention Center on my way to the airport when I lived in the Atlanta area. The location ended up being perfect for those attending the conference from cities outside of the greater Atlanta area. There is no need to rent a car, and there are now four Marriott hotels in the Gateway Center where the convention center is located.

Steel SummitThe SMU Steel Summit Conference has become the conference to go to if you can only attend one. The conference attracts decision-makers from manufacturing, steel distribution, steel mills, trading companies, toll processors and many other companies that service these industries. This year will be no different.

I have provided the updated agenda and speakers for this year’s conference in an article earlier in this issue of SMU. I am still working on a couple of surprises, so the final agenda may not be totally done until early August.

If you plan on attending the conference in person, you will want to try to arrive either on Sunday evening (Aug. 22) or first thing on Monday morning, Aug. 23. We will have three “Pre-Summit” programs beginning at 9 AM and ending at noon. This year, we will provide lunch on Monday to maximize your networking opportunities. All of Monday’s events will be held at the GICC (Georgia International Convention Center). We anticipate concluding the conference at 3 PM on Wednesday, Aug. 25.

The dress code for this event is “business casual,” and we recommend wearing company logo golf shirts or something similar. The company logo apparel helps to prompt networking opportunities.

If you are unable to travel to Atlanta, we will be streaming the conference live. When you register for the event, you will have an option to attend the live conference or the virtual one. Should your plans change, you will be able to adjust from one to the other (for example, Canadian citizens are not able to travel easily to the USA right now. Should the restrictions be dropped, then you can adjust from virtual to live if you so choose). You can click here to register.

If you have any questions about the conference, please send an email to or

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

John Packard, President & CEO,

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