Current Steel Buyers Sentiment Index Dips as Future Rises

SMU’s Current and Future Steel Buyers Sentiment Indices headed in opposing directions this week, with current dropping while future sentiment rose, according to our most recent survey data.

Every other week we poll steel buyers about sentiment. The Steel Buyers Sentiment Indices measure how steel buyers feel about their company’s chances of success in the current market, as well as three-to-six months down the road. We have historical data dating to 2008.

SMU’s Current Buyers Sentiment Index was +60 this week, off four points from +64 two weeks prior (Figure 1). After spending most of 2023 in the mid- to high-70s, the index tumbled to +58 at the end of May. After recovering slightly at the last market check, it has dipped again. 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jun08 23 Fig1

SMU’s Future Buyers Sentiment Index measures buyers’ feelings about business conditions three-to-six months in the future. This week, the index jumped 11 points to +63. Following last market check’s nine-point drop, we will see if after a couple of bumps in the road, buyers are more optimistic now about the second half.

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jun08 23 Fig2

Measured as a three-month moving average, the Current Sentiment 3MMA dropped to +68.5 vs. +71.67 two weeks prior (Figure 3). 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jun08 23 Fig3

This week’s Future Sentiment 3MMA was +60.83, down from +61.5 at the previous market check (Figure 4). 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jun08 23 Fig4

What SMU Survey Respondents Had to Say:

“Market is very uncertain, so our sucess is uncertain.”

“Inventory rebuilding should help sales.”

“Demand, despite price uncertainty, is OK.”

“Our business remains solid, and we don’t expect that too change. Overall, for most demand seems pretty good.”

“Business is improving.”

“Too many out-of-stock quotes kills orders.”

About the SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index

The SMU Steel Buyers Sentiment Index measures the attitude of buyers and sellers of flat-rolled steel products in North America. It is a proprietary product developed by Steel Market Update for the North American steel industry. Tracking steel buyers’ sentiment is helpful in predicting their future behavior.

Positive readings run from +10 to +100. A positive reading means the meter on the right-hand side of our home page will fall in the green area indicating optimistic sentiment. Negative readings run from -10 to -100. They result in the meter on our homepage trending into the red, indicating pessimistic sentiment. A reading of “0” (+/- 10) indicates a neutral sentiment (or slightly optimistic or pessimistic), which is most likely an indicator of a shift occurring in the marketplace. Sentiment is measured via SMU surveys twice per month.

Click here to view an interactive graphic of the SMU Current Steel Buyers Sentiment Index and of the SMU Future Steel Buyers Sentiment Index.

By Ethan Bernard,