Steel Products

Market Chatter on Future Steel Prices, Market Demand, New Capacity and More

Written by Brett Linton

SMU on Monday and Tuesday canvassed steel buyers on a variety of subjects ranging from future steel prices and new capacity to demand and supply chain issues. As we did earlier this month, we are sharing the comments we received in each buyers’ own words rather than summarizing them in ours.

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

“I think we’re looking at a mid-Q3 bottom and somewhere south of $1,000/ton. I hate saying that as a steel bull, but I think that is realistic.”

“I anticipate prices to bottom late 3rd quarter.”

“I don’t expect to see a bottoming until late 3rd quarter. I believe the dramatic changes of the past few months will smooth and we’ll get to $950/ton hot roll in September. Cold Rolled / galvanized SHOULD drop more than HR, but it will be interesting to see if the gap holds around $400/ton.”

“The price decline has begun, so I project mid 3rd quarter as the bottom.”

“August automotive and housing is still strong. Consumer goods are slowing down.”

“$900, mills will take capacity out and … are struggling with upgrades/start-ups.”

“Hot rolled in the upper $40s, CR and coated in the upper $60s.”

“Believe HRC gets just below $1000 and will happen in the third quarter, buyers are pushing numbers down as fast as they can and scrap continues to fall. Demand is bad, and everyone is concerned with inflation. However … extended outages and union contracts coming up for integrated mills may give the market some concern.”

“HRC will bottom out in 45 days +/-. $1,000/ST bottom. I believe demand is okay and imports are slowing. Inventories are not high so people will have to reorder in the future.”

“No idea.”

“Plate won’t bottom until sometime in 2023”.

Is demand improving, declining or stable, and why?

“Demand is stable – thank goodness. Imagine this market without stable demand. Ouchie.”

“Demand is stable”

“Demand is steady to down a few points, but that is from an incredible high. I think we’re back to uncertainty in the world market, and inflation is now a very real threat to continued growth.”

“Demand is declining.”



“Depends on market segments.”

“Demand is weak.”

“Declining – inflation.”

“Demand is declining, with contract prices resetting at higher levels in third quarter and some industries still facing supply chain issues.”

“Demand is steady. Service centers are not buying, but that is just due to declining prices not declining demand.”

“Declining a bit.”


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

“Unfortunately they’re either staying awful or getting worse. Not much of a reprieve in sight either. Double ouchie.”

“Pretty much no change.”

“Better. Seems mills have learned how to better manage the flood of orders.”

“Supply chain issues are unpredictable. The most ordinary products are frequently unavailable.”

“Better – mill production deliveries are rapidly catching up or coming in on time or early.”


“Not really, day by day.”

“Better – mill lead-times are down and material is available.”

“Port congestion is terrible and not improving. Inland transportation is very high costs, and we hear rail cars are having issues now.”

“Really nothing had changed, Big 3 maybe was a bit better in the first half versus last year, and new domestic is expected to be better in the second half versus the first half.”

Are you seeing the impact of new North American capacity in the market? If yes, how so?

“We are, in that the lowest mills out there right now seem to be the newest. Not exactly what I was hoping for.”

“I think it is a work in progress. We have not seen the full impact yet.”

“Perhaps some easing of lead times, but nothing significant. Yet. The new mills are still in shakedown mode, so until customers are ready to trust them with big volume I don’t see any movement of orders.”

“Not effectively.”

“Not yet.”

“Nope, only SDI Sinton. … North Star and Gallatin have not put out any additional tons.”

“Starting to hear more offers from new capacity mills on the West Coast now. SDI, BRS and Termium keep offering aggressively.”

“Yes, all mills cannot fill their books and again, chasing each other to the bottom.”

“Not at all.”

“Not yet in plate, but we will when Nucor Brandenburg comes on line later this year.”

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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