Steel Products

Market Chatter: Future Steel Prices, Demand, Supply Chain Issues, and More

Written by Brett Linton

Earlier this week SMU canvassed buyers on a variety of subjects, ranging from steel prices and demand to supply chain issues and new domestic capacity. Rather than summarizing the comments we received, we thought it would be fitting to share them in each buyers’ own words.

Where do you think steel prices will bottom, and when?

“Q3, when in Q3 is a bigger question. With softening demand, the mills must align capacity in order to meet the market. If the mills get greedy, further pricing erosion is imminent.”

“Hot Rolled – $1,100 in Q3.”

“I’m one of the biggest steel bulls there is, so this pains me to say, but I don’t think this thing stops short of $1,000/ton. Obviously that is great in historical terms, but not ideal for us service centers losing money on the way down.”

“950 for HRC, early Q3. Buyers will push too low, and then union contracts will concern the market.”

“Sometime in June at $1,150.”

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“Late July 2022.”

“Prices will bottom when mills find some reason to not lower prices. What will trigger that? That’s not clear right now. Making some date for it would only be a guess while too many factors are in play to make any sensible guess.”

“No one knows.”

“Around $800 for HR by the end of the year.”

“As long as demand issues continue, we should expect price to aggressively fall. I believe Hot Roll might fall below $1000.”

“$1,000 ~ Early/Mid Q3.”

“Around $800 for HR by the end of the year.”

How is demand? Do you sense that consumers are spending more on experiences instead of things?

“Demand is still strong, we just need a bit of discipline at the mill level and from SSCs – and we all know that neither of those is happening.”

“Relatively stable manufacturing demand.”

“Demand is dropping off – inflation is strangling the economy.”

“We had our best shipping month in company history in May.”

“Demand is a little lower.”

“On the service center side demand has slowed down. Consumers are ready to spend.”

“Demand has remained steady. Only slight cracks showing right now, Amazon canceling some warehouse builds.”

“Demand is strong, and customers are less concerned about pricing than they are availability and delivery. I agree that consumers are more experience driven as the desire to feel normal once again changes the landscape regarding what we truly want and need.”

“Demand seems to be stable… but most are only buying what is absolutely needed.”


“Demand is still good.”

“Contract demand is good, auto is nowhere near as bad as some say. Spot buying has dried up as buyers are holding off while prices drop.”

“Demand is slowing.”

“Demand from end users is steady. Service centers are buying less to keep inventories down.”

Are supply chain issues getting better or worse, and why?

“Better as lead times are short and coil is pretty much available for most all products.”

“Unfortunately, I feel that they’re either staying the same (read: horrible) or getting worse. And any talk of a 2022 automotive comeback needs to stop. It’ll be ’23.”

“Port supply chains are the same. Long delays still. Inland transportation costs are high and rising.”

“Freight costs continue to climb… availability of products continues to decline.”

“Better from an import basis.”

“Same, no change.”

“Steel supply better, and other supply chain issues continuing.”

“Supply chain issues remain steady.”

“They seem to be about the same.”

“Slightly better.”

“Same, still chip issues and other shortages.”

Are you seeing the impact of new North American capacity in the market?

“Not yet. We will in the 3rd and 4th quarters.”


“I would normally say ‘No.’ But the two cheapest folks in the market are definitely new capacity-related. Soooooo…”

“No and do not expect to until later this year. North Star’s new caster is not up just yet, and (Nucor) Gallatin is still taking a final outage. Then they will take time to ramp up.”

“Not yet.”

“Expansion of (capacity) causing downward pressure on price.”

“Not yet for plate, but it will be coming late Q4 or early Q1 2023 from Nucor Brandenburg.”

“We have not seen any effects yet.”

“Not really.”

Want to have your voice heard and share your comments on this ever changing market? Contact Brett at to be added to our contact lists.

PSA: If you have not looked at our latest SMU Market Survey results, they are available here on our website to all Premium members. We often refer to this as our ‘Steel Market Trends Report,’ and we publish updates every other Friday. We encourage readers to explore the full results, as we simply cannot write about all of the information within. After logging in at, visit the Analysis tab and look under the “Survey Results” section for “Latest Survey Results.” Historical survey results are also available in the Survey Results section under “Survey Results History.”

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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