SMU Data and Models

SMU survey: Current Sentiment Index falls, Future Sentiment rises

Written by Ethan Bernard

SMU’s Current Steel Buyers’ Sentiment Index edged down while the Future Sentiment Index ticked up, according to our most recent survey data.

Every other week, we poll steel buyers about market 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. (Our website has historical data going back to 2008.)

SMU’s Current Buyers’ Sentiment Index stood at +57 this week, down slightly from +58 two weeks earlier (Figure 1). This is the lowest the index has been since the start of 2024 when it stood at +56.

SMU’s Future Buyers’ Sentiment Index measures buyers’ feelings about business conditions three to six months in the future. The index increased two points this week to +70 (Figure 2). Prior to this rise, the Future Sentiment Index hadn’t touched +70 since the end of November.

Measured as a three-month moving average, the Current Sentiment 3MMA fell to +61.67 from +63.67 two weeks prior. (Figure 3).

This week’s Future Sentiment 3MMA slightly increased to +63.67 vs. +63.33 at our previous market check (Figure 4).

What SMU respondents had to say:

“Investing in 2024 to be ready for growth in 2025-28.”

“As a reseller, margin compression is an issue. Too many irresponsible wholesalers and distributors are liquidating inventory below replacement cost.”

“With prices declining, less import buys.”

“We are prepared with a balance of contract tons, spot tons, and offshore.”

“We hope to regain market share in the second half of the year.”

“Hopefully, prices will bottom out soon and increase, creating an import buying market.”

“We have a good backlog.”

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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