Final Thoughts

Mill Negotiations Rate Level, But Plate Up 16%

The overall mill negotiation rate was steady this week, though plate was an outlier, jumping 16 percentage points, according to SMU’s most recent survey data. 

The percentage of respondents saying steel mills were willing to negotiate price on plate rose to 59% this week, up from 33% two weeks ago.

Every two weeks, SMU asks steel buyers whether domestic mills are willing to negotiate lower spot pricing on new orders. This week stayed even with the previous market check as 85% of steel buyers (Figure 1) surveyed by SMU reported mills were willing to negotiate price on new orders. Going to as low as 24% at the end of March, the rate has risen since, though leveling off in the mid-80s at the end of last month. 

SMU Negotiations May10 2023 Fig1

Figure 2 below shows negotiation rates by product. Most of them showed downward movement, with hot rolled falling five percentage points to 91% of buyers reporting mills more willing to negotiate price vs. two weeks earlier; cold rolled 93% (-2); and galvanized 89% (-7). Galvalume stood at 100% vs. 50% at the last market check. Recall that Galvalume can be more volatile because we have fewer survey participants there. 

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,

Latest in Final Thoughts