SMU Data and Models

SMU Market Trends: Optimism Has Staying Power

Written by Tim Triplett

Despite war in Ukraine, rising inflation, and uncertainty around steel prices, more than 80% of buyers responding to Steel Market Update’s survey this week still described themselves as optimistic about their prospects for the first half of this year.

Their generally positive outlook – reflected in the comments below – point to healthy steel demand and the widespread belief that the painful price correction is nearing an end.

“Demand is remaining strong and prices are stabilizing.”

“We all got stuck buying everything we could get our hands on, so everyone was over inventoried. Once this lump is swallowed, lead times and true demand will take over.”

“I believe the steel mills will follow through with their commitments to stabilize markets/prices by controlling capacity.”

“Despite inflation, demand is quite good. I just need better access to trucks.”

“Customers are honoring orders, unlike other times when the market has divebombed like this.”

“We are almost at a bottom and hopefully will uptrend in the second quarter.”

“Our production schedule is very full, with committed work into the third quarter.”

“Even with margins squeezed, we’re concluding our most profitable February in company history. While the 2H could get tough, we are riding high right now.”

Certainly not every buyer is quite so bullish. “We’re losing money on every order due to high-cost inventory,” said one service center executive. “There’s still lots of inventory and prices are all over the board. Demand is spotty for many markets and regions,” said another. “There seems to be another black swan lurking around every corner,” observed a third respondent.

By Tim Triplett,

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