SMU Data and Models

SMU market survey results now available

Written by David Schollaert & Michael Cowden

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

Key points and takeaways

We go over the big highlights of the survey in Final Thoughts. Here are some other key points that we think are worth your time. (And, again, our premium subscribers can follow along with the latest results here.)

  • Lead times remain short/normal (slide 13). And depending on the product, 75-90% of buyers surveyed said mills were willing to negotiate lower prices (slide 16).
  • The drop in June scrap prices caught many by surprise (slide 19). Nearly 60% had expected stable or higher prices.
  • About one-third of respondents said they missed forecast last month (slide 20). That’s the highest such reading we’ve seen in a while.
  • Nearly 70% of service centers say they are releasing less steel (slide 28). And 65% saying they are lowering prices. None say they are increasing them (slide 38).

That’s a little dark. Is it the summer doldrums? Or is it an indication that steel demand is cooling off?

On the bright side, buyer sentiment – despite everything above – improved notably (slides 9-12).

Some of you have told us you’re seeing the highest levels of imports in recent memory, especially when it comes to coated products. Import license data backs that up.

But our survey suggests the days of high import volumes might be numbered. Nearly 90% of trader respondents say they’re seeing a decrease in orders from North American buyers (slide 50). And only 57% of service center respondents said they found current import pricing attractive, down from 85% in mid-March/early April (slide 48).

My guess is July import volumes will come in a lot lower than what we’ve seen this spring.

There’s a lot more in there to unpack. I haven’t even gotten into the comments – all insightful, some a little to spicy for print – we’ve received. Check out Final Thoughts for some of those.

David Schollaert

Read more from David Schollaert

Michael Cowden

Read more from Michael Cowden

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