SMU Data and Models

SMU survey: Sheet buyers find mills more willing to negotiate spot prices

Written by Ethan Bernard

Sheet steel buyers said mills are more willing to talk price on spot orders, according to our most recent survey data.

However, plate buyers found mills less willing to negotiate this week, with 71% of respondents saying mills were flexible on price vs. 79% two weeks earlier.

Every other week, SMU polls steel buyers asking if domestic mills are willing to negotiate lower spot pricing on new orders.

This week, 75% of participants surveyed by SMU reported mills were willing to negotiate prices on new spot orders. This is up three percentage points from 72% at our last market check. The end of March, with a reading of 49%, marks the only time the rate has dipped below 50% in 2024 (Figure 1).

Figure 2 below shows negotiation rates by product. The rates for hot-rolled coil rose six percentage points to 79% this week. Cold rolled was 64% (+2). Galvanized stood at 75% (+3). And Galvalume was 100% (+25).

Here’s what some survey respondents had to say:

“Depends on the tonnage (for plate). Over 1,000 tons, yes.”

“Have seen less willingness to negotiate (on HRC) this week compared to last week.”

“Depends on your stature and tons (for HRC).”

“Depends on your stature, tons, and mill (for plate).”

Note: SMU surveys active steel buyers every two weeks to gauge their steel suppliers’ willingness 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.

Ethan Bernard

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