Steel Products

Steel Market Chatter This Week

Written by Brett Linton

SMU polled steel buyers on a variety of subjects on Monday and Tuesday of this week, including current and future steel prices, inventory strategies, supply, demand, and new mill capacity. Rather than summarizing the comments we received, we are sharing them in each buyer’s own words.

We want to hear your thoughts, too! Contact to be included in our questionnaires.

Is demand improving, declining or stable, and why?

“Declining due to projects getting delayed and stocks are increasing.”

“Declining, mid-terms, economy all has customers pushing back releases and orders.”


“Improving, people have to buy for orders.”

“Demand is staying stable but there is definitely a sense of growing concern out there.”

“Plate is stable.”

“Declining — companies are slowing down which is typical in Q4.”

“Demand is declining as customers work to reduce inventory in Q4.”

“Demand is weak and declining especially for imports. Future risk of downturn and short domestic lead times no need to buy in advance.”

“Declining — customers and steel buyers are only buying exactly what they need, fearing there is not bottom yet.”

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Where do you think steel prices will bottom, and when? Or have they already reached a bottom?

“Hoping we are there. If demand slows down then all bets are off.”

“They haven’t bottomed yet. I assume we’ll see indices in the $600s for HRC soon. These mill lead times are just too damn short!”

“I think they bottom in December, once lead times reach January, mills should be able to stop the bleeding.”

“Next few weeks, lead times are approaching January. Steel mills can’t afford to have an unprofitable first quarter.”

“Prices will bottom around $700 for HR sometime toward the end of November.”

“Who knows.”

“Dead bottom Q1 2023 as I think we are bouncing along the bottom now. Inventories will lean out and folks will restock. As supply chain issues ease into Q1, more steel will be needed by manufacturing/OEMs who have good backlogs.”

“Below $600 middle of next year. Too much capacity.”

“End of Nov. — mills will push a big increase, key is, do they have the discipline to hold the line.”

“Plate will bottom sometime in second half of 2023.”

“I suspect we’ve hit a bottom for now. 2023… Recession? It can all come down more.”


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

“No, most new capacity is still not consistently quoting.”

“Yes. Lots of production chasing demand that is not growing.”

“Yes, because it has created the always nasty supply > demand scenario.”

“Yes. New capacity fighting for tons, and it shows in their willingness to negotiate.”

“Yes, additional tonnage available with weaker demand.”

“Not yet in plate — maybe in Q3/Q4 23.”

“Yes, supply exceeds current demand.”

“Not yet.”

“Not really. Not on the West Coast as of yet.”

“Price declines continue.”

“Zero impact.”

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.” We will conduct our next market survey next week, contact us if you would like to have your company represented.

By Brett Linton,

Brett Linton

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