SMU Market Chatter

Steel market chatter this week

Written by Becca Moczygemba

On Monday and Tuesday of this week, SMU polled steel buyers on a variety of subjects, including steel sheet prices, lead times, scrap prices, performance, purchasing, and demand.

Rather than summarizing the comments we received, we are sharing some of them in each buyer’s own words.

We want to hear your thoughts, too! Contact to be included in our questionnaires.

When do you think sheet prices will peak, and why?

“Momentum will carry the peak into late January followed by a short period of relative stability with the first signs of softening showing in about mid-March.”

“January or February, but hard to say which week. Once a new peak is established, will take a Black Swan to get the consensus to agree breaking the ceiling.”

“February, as that is normal market churn timing.”

“I believe that prices will continue to increase due to the rise in materials in demand. Prices will peak in March or later.”

“We believe we’ve got a few more weeks left for the indices and then they top out before NYE; it’ll be too quick/too drastic per usual.”

“The economy remains questionable in manufacturing. Demand is good but not great. Supply is under control but may not remain. I think prices will peak in January.”

“Prices are set to move higher into Q2 based on improved demand. They will peak in March or later.”

How did your company perform last month compared to your forecast?

“Releases fell short and we did not meet forecast.”

“We met forecast, and we consider it a good year.”.

“Exceeded forecast with highest levels of volume.”

“Year over year there’s been steady growth, but we expect December to be flat.”

“We met forecast but are seeing softening.”

“There was a year-end spurt in the construction sector and we exceeded expectations.”

Are you an active buyer or on the sidelines, and why?

“We’re on the sidelines. Contract tons are keeping pace with demand.”

“Sitting on the sidelines. We buy according to our order book.”

“We are an active buyer. We buy every month and are keeping inventory balanced.”

“Only purchasing contract items and to meet backlog.”

“Active buyer. We need to maintain enough inventory to service just-in-time customers.”

“On the sidelines. Regarding spot, we are not in a hurry to load up. But on contract, buyers are pulling very heavy right now with the trailing prices.”

“We drove our inventory way down so we are actively buying.”

How is demand for your products?

“Our demand has been up for months and has remained at that level of up.”

“Demand has been down.”

“Buyers have been encouraged to place orders ahead of increases announced in the middle of this month, so business has been stable.”

“It’s been declining. Price has been going up, but demand hasn’t improved.”

“Seasonally declining with flat outlook.”

“Stable at very high levels.”

Becca Moczygemba

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