Steel Products

Market Chatter on Steel Prices, Demand, Supply Chain

Written by Brett Linton

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, SMU polled steel buyers on a variety of subjects including steel prices, supply and demand, and new mill capacity. We are sharing some of the comments we received in each buyer’s 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 still want to believe it starts with an “8” and at some point in early August. That being said, what is the catalyst of it bottoming out? I don’t believe in the mills willingness to actually draw a line in the sand – not when they’re still printing money.”

“Late August Possible union strike and mills will slow production at mini mills and integrateds will take some down time Import orders arriving will be soft in September -December.”

“I think demand is slowing faster than expected and offshore pricing is reducing faster than domestic with a lot of capacity in the market in Q3 and Q4.”

“I believe HRC gets into the $700 range, not at every mill, but we are headed there over the next month and unless there are labor issues from the contract, the mill’s best hope is that it stops there.”

“Prices should bottom out in 30 days.”

“September, based on the futures market.”

“4th quarter 2022, market is slowing.”

“Hot Rolled will bottom around $700 by late August. I believe mills are positioning to move this market upward once union contracts get settled.”

“$750, demand will drop off over next 6 to 9 months.”

“I feel prices will bottom in October/November – Anticipated mill maintenance, USW Possible strikes, end of year demand.”

Is demand improving, declining or stable, and why?

“Demand remains somewhat stable.”

“Declining, mills are counting on auto and with recession looming auto will not bounce like they think.”

“Demand is softer, no surprise with prices in a free fall, buyers are holding off, making it looks worse than it is.”

“Unfortunately demand is indeed softening. Call it “Summer Doldrums” if you’d like, but it is definitely worse than it was one or two months ago.”


“Declining due to supply chain issues with getting product and increase transportation costs.”

“Demand is weak overall. Demand is weakening.”

“Declining [due to] economy.”

“Steady for us.”

“At this time our demand is trending down a bit, but should stabilize.

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

“Supply chain is random for many items but steel is pretty consistent.”

“Tube & coil are better – long products are stable – SS imports are still subject to port congestion.”

“I don’t see much change. Consumer goods a little better, but appliances and Autos still having issues.”


“Same. Bad and not improving.”

“Mill lead times have shortened to 3-4 weeks, which is an improvement. Transportation is still a bottleneck.”

“Staying that same at worse. Electronics and every other secondary component can not be purchased, long lead times, increased cost.”

“Really no change.”

“They are remaining horrible. And if any labor negotiations lead to work stoppages, especially at the West Coast ports, then watch out!”

“Supply chain issues, Transportation issues, Pandemic issues, Labor shortage issues, ARE ALL (ALL) HERE TO STAY – They are NEVER going away – These issues are with us for a very very very long time.”

“Better. Easier to catch up as demand slows.”

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

“Every mill across the board is looking for business.”

“Yes. Most mills are far more willing to discount.”

“Not yet.”

“We are continuing to see the newer/younger mills leading the pack downward.”

“Yes, more supply less demand lower price.”

“Nope, it would be worse.”

“Yes. More availability and more competition means more lower prices for now.”

“I think we are all seeing the impact in the market. Until infrastructure kicks in, it will be much of the same.”

“Yes, lead times are decreasing, inventories are increasing and/or stable.”

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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