Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

Change in the air…?

We are beginning to hear of more hot rolled being available in the spot market. We are not (yet) hearing of mills taking prices below $1,680 per ton (which was the bottom of our range last week). During last week’s SMU Flat Rolled and Plate Steel Market Trends Survey, we noted that 35 percent of our respondents reported seeing more availability out of their domestic mill suppliers.

Here are a few of the comments left by respondents to the question, “Are you seeing more availability from the domestic mills?”

“Mills are calling every week now; and even calling back when I balk on price after lowering price point.” Manufacturing company

“Maybe seeing some slight windows of availability, but those tons are (1) super expensive, (2) few and far between and (3) getting snatched up ASAP.” Service center

“Small pockets of galv and HR being offered.” Service center

Even with some thawing on hot rolled and potentially some galvanized, respondents are not reporting that they believe steel prices will peak anytime soon. About 63% percent of the respondents to last week’s survey believe it will be August or later before prices will peak. Of those, 18% believe it will be November or beyond.

At SMU we are watching the availability of material and what is preventing domestic steel mills from catching up on late orders and being able to offer more material. There are issues like the breakout at one of the EAFs at SDI Columbus that is impacting 25,000-30,000 tons of production. Also, quite a few tons will be removed from the market in late third and fourth quarter due to maintenance outages. We are working on a comprehensive report on the outages and will provide that information to you in the coming days.

We will have more information about steel prices in Tuesday’s issue of Steel Market Update.

Steel SummitUpdate on SMU Steel Summit Conference: 8 Weeks to Go

There are eight weeks remaining until the start of the 2021 SMU Steel Summit Conference which will be held live in and person in Atlanta on Aug. 23-25. We will be back at the Georgia International Convention Center where the conference will begin with three “Pre-Summit” programs. The official opening of the conference will be at 1 p.m. ET on Monday, Aug. 23. 

As of this past week, we were nearing 700 executives being registered for this year’s conference. You can click here to view the most recent list of registered companies. If you would like to join them, you can do so by registering using this link (in-person or virtual registration available).

The SMU Steel Summit Conference is THE steel networking event in any calendar year. This year is exceptionally special due to the loss of all the live conferences last year. We will be rolling out the attendee list for all paid registrations by the beginning of August (if not before). This will be done through our virtual platform (same one we used for our virtual conference last year). The platform will allow you to view the attendee list, email other attendees, review the agenda and speakers, etc. Something new this year for those attending the conference in-person–you will be able to live-stream the speakers in real time using your laptop computer, iPad, or cell phone should you be away from the conference hall for some reason.

All attendees, whether live or virtual, will be able to go to the platform to view speakers or panels on an on-demand basis as the program will be recorded. You will be able to access the presentations from the program through the platform as well.

Whether you are attending our conference or not, I highly recommend that you spend some time and nominate one or more deserving young people from your organization for the 2021 SMU NexGen Leadership Award. You can learn more about what makes a good candidate, the nomination process, examples of a past successful nomination, what the winner of the award receives, etc. by clicking here. Please note that all nominees can register for the conference at half the normal price. To get information on how to register a NexGen Leadership Award nominee, please send an email to:

To learn more about this year’s conference you can click here or go to:

Our next Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making & Market Fundamentals Workshop will be held virtually on July 20-21, 2021. You can learn more about the Steel 101 workshop by clicking here.

Our next Steel Hedging 201: Advanced Strategies & Execution Workshop will be held virtually on Aug. 3-4 (half day each). You can learn more about the program, instructors, costs and how to register by clicking here or going to:

If you are interested in expanding the number of people who receive our newsletter, if you would like to upgrade from Executive to Premium membership, or if you would like to become a subscriber, please contact Paige Mayhair at or by phone 724-720-1012.

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

Last week was a newsy one for the US sheet market. Nucor’s announcement that it would publish a weekly HR spot price was the talk of the town – whether that was in chatter among colleagues, at the Boy Scouts of America Metals Industry dinner, or in SMU’s latest market survey. Some think that it could Nucor's spot HR price could bring stability to notoriously volatile US sheet prices, according to SMU's latest steel market survey. Others think it’s too early to gauge its impact. And still others said they were leery of any attempt by producers to control prices.