SMU Data and Models

SMU survey: Most sheet, plate buyers find mills more flexible on price

Written by Ethan Bernard

Steel buyers found mills more willing to negotiate spot pricing this week on all products SMU tracks with the exception of Galvalume, according to our most recent survey data.

For buyers of HRC, 88% of respondents said mills were more willing to talk price, up 10 percentage points from two weeks earlier. At the same time, Galvalume’s rate fell 16 percentage points to 84% in the same comparison.

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

This week, 83% of participants surveyed by SMU reported mills were more flexible on prices for new spot orders, up three percentage points from our previous market check. With the exception of mid-March when it registered 84%, this is the highest reading so far in 2024 (Figure 1).

Figure 2 below shows negotiation rates by product. The rate for cold-rolled coil stands at 76% this week, up five percentage points, galvanized was up one percentage point to 86%, and plate was up three percentage points to 81%.

Here’s what some survey respondents had to say:

With appreciable tons (on plate).”

“Most mills have very short lead times (on galvanized). There are a few mills with extended lead-times.”

“Depending on the mill and the size of the buy (for HRC).”

“Not with open hands, but willing (on plate).”

“Depending on tonnage (for HRC), but there is a little room to get a better deal.”

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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SMU market survey results now available

The latest SMU market survey results are now available on our website to all premium members. After logging in at, visit the pricing and analysis tab and look under the “survey results” section for “latest survey results.” Historical survey results are also available under that selection. If you need help accessing the survey results, or if your company would like to have your voice heard in our future surveys, contact