Steel Products

Sheet Products Mixed, But Plate Negotiation Rate Soars

Written by Ethan Bernard

The mill negotiation rate was mixed this week for sheet products but relatively level, while the rate for plate jumped over 15 percentage points from two weeks earlier, according to SMU’s most recent survey data.

The percentage of respondents saying steel mills were willing to talk price on plate rose to 57% this week, up from 41% 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, (Figure 1) 80% of participants surveyed by SMU reported mills were willing to negotiate price on new orders, rising two percentage points from two weeks earlier. This is the first time it’s topped 80% since the end of June. 

Figure 2 below shows negotiation rates by product. Hot rolled fell one percentage point to 90% of buyers reporting mills more willing to negotiate price vs. two weeks earlier; cold rolled stood at 86% (+3); galvanized at 95% (+1); and Galvalume at 75% (-9). Recall that Galvalume can be more volatile because we have fewer survey participants there. 

Here are some comments about what people are saying in the market:

“We aren’t bringing in anything (hot rolled) mill direct right now, but we’re certainly get unsolicited calls from reps.”

“If you are willing to buy, there is a negotiation (for hot rolled) to be had.”

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.

Ethan Bernard

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