Final Thoughts

Final Thoughts

Written by John Packard

The SMU Steel Summit Conference was, at its inception, about two things: networking and forecasting.

Our conference aims to expand our attendees’ knowledge of the economy, the flat rolled and plate industries, and key market segments.

John Packard Summit 18

It’s also about getting to know one another better as companies look to improve or expand their relationships with suppliers/customers.

Our conference attracts decision makers from manufacturing, steel distribution, steel mills, trading companies, toll processors, logistic companies, and many more organizations associated with the greater steel community.

Keynote Speaker Dr. Alan Beaulieu has been associated with the SMU Steel Summit Conference for many years now. He addresses economic cycles and where we are within the economic cycle. He has an intimate knowledge of the industries and market segments because of his association with SMU as well as other organizations within the greater steel/manufacturing communities. This gives him a unique and experienced view of our industry.

ITR Economics wrote on one of their blogs recently, “It is important to note that the soft landing we are talking about is for the macroeconomy. … There will be many markets and companies that also experience soft landings, but there will also be some markets and companies that face hard landings – or recessions – in 2023. It is critical to know which future to expect for your business.”

Beaulieu will speak about what this means and what it means for your specific market segment at this year’s SMU Steel Summit Conference. He will be speaking on Wednesday morning, August 24. Join him by registering for this year’s conference. You can do so by clicking here.

Attracting young people into the steel community continues to be a focus of SMU. As I speak to companies around the country, the lack of quality talent (in some cases the lack of any talent at all) is pressuring the industry. Some of the highest paying jobs available in the US are here in our industry. We want to make sure young people are aware of the opportunities. And once they are in the industry, we want to help recognize, nurture, mentor, educate, and motivate young executives (and potential executives).

Steel Market Update is supporting youth in the industry through the SMU NexGen Leadership Award and through a new organization we have been forming in conjunction with former NexGen Leadership Award winners, nominees, and other young executives from the industry. That new organization is being called the SMU NexGen Community.

The NexGen Leadership Award is now in its fourth year. We look to honor rising stars from within the greater flat rolled and plate steel communities. The candidate should be 35 or younger and recognized within their company as talented, motivated and innovative. Just plain exceptional will also do.

During the nomination process, you have an opportunity to explain to our judges what makes this individual unique within your organization. You can learn more about the award, nomination process, and how to nominate someone by going to:

If you have questions please reach out Jill Waldman at She will do her best to answer any questions you might have.

Registrations are moving at a faster pace as we are now 122 days to go to the opening of the SMU Steel Summit Conference. We are closing in on 400 registered executives. SMU anticipates we will have 1,200 executives.

We will once again return to the Georgia International Convention Center, which is conveniently located next to the Atlanta International Airport. Here are the companies who have registered within the past few days. Those with an asterisk (*) registered more than one person: ArcelorMIttal Dofasco, Atkore International*, B.F. Steel de Mexico S.A, de C.V., Center for Automotive Research, Cooper Consolidated LLC, Cornerstone Building Brands*, Friedman Industries*, GFG Alliance, Hobart Aluminum, Illinois Tool Works (ITW)*, LB Steel, National Materials Co.*, National Material of Mexico, NS BlueScope Coated Products North America, Nucor*, Ohio Coatings Co.*, Pridgeon & Clay*, Reliance Metalcenter, Russel Metals*, Steel Warehouse*, Steelscape, Ternium USA Inc.*, U. S. Steel Corp., Worthington Industries.

Next week – on April 26-27 – we will host our virtual Introduction to Steel Hedging Workshop (previously known as Hedging 101). Considering the continued volatility in the flat-rolled steel markets, it is a good idea to be aware of how to mitigate price risks using the futures markets. You can learn more about our instructors, the program, costs to attend, and how to register by clicking here or going to

Many of you are aware that Tim Triplett recently retired from Steel Market Update. We have hired one replacement who will be joining SMU at the end of this month. We are looking for another person to join our team. If you have journalism and steel experience, please contact Michael Cowden at

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

John Packard, Founder

Latest in Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

I’ve had discussions with some of you lately about where and when sheet prices might bottom. Some of you say that hot-rolled (HR) coil prices won’t fall below $800 per short ton (st). Others tell me that bigger buyers aren’t interested unless they can get something that starts with a six. Obviously a lot depends on whether we're talking 50 tons or 50,000 tons. I've even gotten some guff about how the drop in US prices is happening only because we’re talking about it happening.

Final thoughts

We’ve all heard a lot about mill “discipline” following a wave of consolidation over the last few years. That discipline is often evident when prices are rising, less so when they are falling. I remember hearing earlier this year that mills weren’t going to let hot-rolled (HR) coil prices fall below $1,000 per short ton (st). Then not below $900/st. Now, some of you tell me that HR prices in the mid/high-$800s are the “1-800 price” – widely available to regular spot buyers. So what comes next, and will mills “hold the line” in the $800s?