SMU Data and Models

Current Steel Buyers Sentiment Index Rises as Future Falls

SMU’s Current and Future Steel Buyers Sentiment Indices swapped directions again this week, with current increasing and future sentiment easing, 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 going back to 2008.

SMU’s Current Buyers Sentiment Index was +64 this week, up four points from +60 two weeks earlier (Figure 1). Though current sentiment has been higher than future sentiment much of this year, the two indices have been seesawing since the end of May. 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jul7 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 fell two points to +61 from the previous market check (Figure 2). The index hasn’t topped +70 since the beginning of March. 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jul7 23 Fig2

Measured as a three-month moving average, the Current Sentiment 3MMA dropped to +66.33 from +68.50 vs. two weeks prior (Figure 3). 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jul7 23 Fig3

This week’s Future Sentiment 3MMA was +60.50, down slightly from +60.83 at the previous market check (Figure 4). 

SMU Buyers Sentiment Jul7 23 Fig4

What SMU Survey Respondents Had to Say:

“Inventory is under control.”

“Spot buying was dead, but did start to show signs of life once pricing did not get as low as people expected, and now monthly contract buying is picking up after being at peak price in June.”

“Construction market is very busy.”

“Market is soft for us at this time.”

“Buying only what is projected to be needed.”

“Demand over the past 2-3 weeks is slightly higher.”

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,

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