Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

When I first started writing Steel Market Update back in 2004, its purpose was to assist my steel buying clients by supplying information necessary for them to be proactive in their decision-making process in a volatile steel market.

Its purpose did not change in 2008 when I started the newsletter as a publication for a wider audience encompassing the greater flat rolled and plate steel communities. I believed there was a need for higher quality information to assist active buyers and sellers of steel as they made critical buying decisions.

Over the years, Steel Market Update has expanded the depth of our research. We provide proprietary data gleaned from those active within the industry, and we also provide our thoughts about the forces driving prices.

Many of these products can be found in our website, or you can reach out to us to learn more about what you may be missing. I am personally available to answer any questions or to point you to where we have information that would be helpful to you and your organization.

John Packard Summit 18SMU has developed excellent relationships with steel mills, steel distributors, manufacturing companies, logistics companies, analysts, and traders. We work with these companies and individuals so we can better serve our subscribers, who we call members.

Steel Market Update is a piece of your puzzle. We have helped many companies maneuver difficult patches as steel prices have been extremely volatile since I first started writing a short note to my customers almost 20 years ago.

I thank all of you who have supported Steel Market Update over the years. I welcome anyone new to our publication to become a subscriber. You can do so by contacting Paige Mayhair at 724-720-1012 or by email at

Pieces of the Puzzle

Every year I sit down at my desk and stare at a blank page on my computer screen. I think about what has transpired over the past twelve months, the questions being asked about the market, the direction steel prices are taking, and then I think about what the market may look like in August when we conduct our next SMU Steel Summit Conference.

Putting together a world-class steel conference months in advance is a bit like fitting the pieces of a puzzle. Every year, there are a few pieces that can be placed on the board early. These include mill CEOs for fireside chats, like Lourenco Goncalves of Cleveland Cliffs and Mark Millett of Steel Dynamics. We have an excellent economic program through Alan Beaulieu of ITR Economics. And we have outstanding steel price forecasters with Timna Tanners of Wolfe Research and Josh Spoores of CRU.

It’s good to include new names and new viewpoints, and we are looking to do just that this year. We added Gene Marks, CEO of The Marks Group. Gene is an author, columnist, keynote speaker and expert on actions and strategies companies can take to deal with issues impacting their growth over the next few years.

Other pieces change as market circumstances dictate. We will have a wider focus on global events that are impacting the world and domestic steel markets. These will include a discussion of the changing global landscape, which has reshaped supply balances around the world. We are retooling the way we will approach our trade panel this year with less emphasis on Section 232 and a greater emphasis on how trading companies are functioning in the current market environment, what decarbonization and EU carbon taxes will mean for trade outside Europe, and what the future of trade will look like in North America. Separately, we are going to look at cybersecurity and how each of us need to prepare for what may be inevitable cyberattacks.

The 2022 SMU Steel Summit Conference will continue to be the premier networking and information gathering event for the steel industry. Our conference is known for the concentration of decision-makers in the room and for the quality of the conversations shared during the event. This year will be no different, and you can join the hundreds of other decision makers by clicking here to register.

Andritz announced yesterday they have successfully started up production of the new galvanizing line at the Nucor Hickman plant in Arkansas. The new line actually pulled it first coil on December 16, 2021, and is now ready to begin the ramp-up to its full capacity of 500,000 tons per year. Those attending our in-person Steel 101 workshop on April 20-21st will get an opportunity to view this new line in action. You can learn more about our workshop agenda, instructors, costs to attend, and how to register by clicking here.

I have been involved with the steel industry since 1977. Over the years the industry has gotten more and more volatile as steel mills have gone out of business, been consolidated, and new ones have been added. I have seen the destruction of ingot casting and the rise of electric-arc furnace steel making. Scrap prices have gone from $20 per gross ton to $400+. Every week that goes by I learn something new about the industry.

For me, the steel industry is like a living, breathing, fire-spouting dragon. Never to be tamed. We can only hope to stay ahead of the flames and to deal with the chaos. I’m sure many of you feel the same way. The industry is a simple business, until it isn’t. We are here to help when it isn’t.

I have for many years encouraged our readers to interact with us. Your comments and questions prompt many of our articles. Michael Cowden and I are easy to reach. But in case you need some help, our emails are: and We are available to take your suggestions on how we can do our jobs better or on subjects we should be covering. Please do not hesitate to contact us.

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

John Packard, Founder

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