SMU Data and Models

SMU survey: Mills more open to price talks on sheet products

Written by Ethan Bernard

Sheet steel buyers found mills more willing to negotiate spot pricing this week, according to our most recent survey data.

When it comes to hot-rolled (HR) coil, 95% of respondents said mills were open to negotiating lower prices, up three percentage points from two weeks earlier. Plate’s rate was 77%, little changed from our last survey.

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

This week, the overall rate increased nine percentage points, with 92% of participants surveyed by SMU reporting mills were more willing to negotiate lower prices for new spot orders. This is the highest rate since Jan. 20, 2022, when it also hit 92% (Figure 1).

Figure 2 below shows negotiation rates by product. The rate for cold-rolled coil stands at 95% this week, a 14-percentage point jump from the previous market check. The rate for galvanized rose one percentage point to 95%.

Here’s what some survey respondents had to say:

“Mills will do anything to get an order as nobody is buying (plate).”

“Mills seem to be looking for orders (on galvanized).”

“There is such a difference between mills in what they are willing to offer (on HRC) depending on who you are and what you buy right now.”

“Varies by geography and order size (on HRC).”

“Not (willing to negotiate) much (on HRC).”

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. 

Additionally, negotiation rates for all products, including Galvalume, are available to premium subscribers on our website here:

Ethan Bernard

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