SMU Data and Models

Overall Mill Negotiations Rate Ticks Up Slightly, Plate Falls by 9%

The percentage of respondents saying steel mills were willing to negotiate on price stayed relatively flat this week, up one percentage point from two weeks ago, according to SMU’s most recent survey data. 

Plate bucked the general trend, being the only product surveyed by SMU to fall below 50% of respondents saying steel mills were willing to negotiate price. 33% of respondents said mills were willing to talk price on plate, down from 42% at the last market check. 

Every two weeks, SMU asks steel buyers whether domestic mills are willing to negotiate lower spot pricing on new orders. This week, 85% of steel buyers (Figure 1) surveyed by SMU reported mills were willing to negotiate lower prices on new orders, rising from 84% two weeks ago. The number had jumped up nine percentage points at the previous market check, so we will see if this leveling off constitutes a trend. 

SMU Negotiations May10 2023 Fig1

Figure 2 below shows negotiation rates by product. Hot rolled ticked up one percentage point to 96% of buyers reporting mills more willing to talk price vs. two weeks earlier; cold rolled 95% (+2); while Galvalume fell to 50% (-50%). Recall that Galvalume can be more volatile because we have fewer survey participants there. Galvanized, while still staying well above 90%, edged down four percentage points to 96% of respondents saying mills were willing to negotiate on price. 

SMU Negotiations May10 2023 Fig2

Note: SMU surveys active steel buyers every other week to gauge the willingness of their steel suppliers to negotiate pricing. The results reflect current steel demand and changing spot pricing trends. SMU provides our members with a number of ways to interact with current and historical data. To see an interactive history of our Steel Mill Negotiations data, visit our website here.

By Ethan Bernard,

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