SMU Data and Models

SMU survey: Current Buyers' Sentiment flat, Future Sentiment falls

Written by Ethan Bernard

SMU’s Current Steel Buyers’ Sentiment Index was flat this week, while the Future Sentiment Index slipped, according to our most recent survey data.

Every other week, we poll steel buyers about sentiment. The indices measure how steel buyers feel about their companies’ chances of success in the current market as well as three to six months down the road. (We have historical data dating to 2008. You can find that here.)

SMU’s Current Buyers’ Sentiment Index stood at +66 this week, equal to two weeks earlier (Figure 1). The index last touched the +70 level at the end of November.

SMU’s Future Buyers’ Sentiment Index measures buyers’ feelings about business conditions three to six months in the future. This week, the index slipped four points to +58 (Figure 2). This is the first time it has dipped below +60 since the beginning of June.

Measured as a three-month moving average, the Current Sentiment 3MMA edged down to +65.00 from +65.67 at the last market check. (Figure 3). 

This week’s Future Sentiment 3MMA declined to +63.50 vs. +66.33 two weeks prior (Figure 4).

What SMU respondents had to say:

“Solar and truck/trailer are slowing.”

“Service centers trying to play the price arbitrage game right now.”

“Seeing some delays and cancellations.”

“Contracts are down a bit, but spot is increasing.”

“Less important demand (in market), but overall demand steady.”

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 twice per month via SMU surveys. If you would like to participate in our survey, please contact us at

Ethan Bernard

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