Steel Blog

Final Thoughts

Friday, 13 October 2017 08:00

I had a whirlwind weekend having traveled to Cleveland to see family and to attend MidWest Materials' 65th anniversary. Brian Robbins and his crew did a great job paying homage to their past and current employees. The company is much different today than it was in 1952 when it started. I have a feeling it will be quite different again in just a few years' time as the pace of change quickens and companies either innovate or struggle to survive.



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Final Thoughts

Wednesday, 11 October 2017 08:00

We received a number of responses to our articles on ethics. We didn't want to beat a dead horse by producing another article this evening, even though there is plenty to write about. For those of you who have not noticed, Kobe Steel in Japan has admitted falsifying data on materials placed in autos, trains and aircraft. The initial reports do not specifically mention steel - more aluminum and other materials. Nonetheless, the reputation of Kobe Steel may be damaged beyond repair. The mill made an ethical decision to deceive its customers and now they, and perhaps the entire Japanese industry, will be harmed by the lack of foresight and actions of a few. It only takes the actions of a few (maybe even just one) to ruin a company's reputation. It will be interesting to watch what happens to Kobe Steel in the coming weeks and months.



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Final Thoughts

Monday, 09 October 2017 08:00

I have been working on two major projects today: flat rolled and plate pricing for our steel index and flat rolled steel service center inventories as of the end of September. I finished the first project on pricing, which showed mixed results with some price erosion on a couple of items and stable prices on others. In the second project on inventories, I've heard from about 50 percent of the companies registered to supply information. I am hopeful we will collect the vast majority of the data by the time we produce our Thursday issue of Steel Market Update.



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Final Thoughts

Friday, 06 October 2017 08:00

This evening I received a note from a reliable source advising me that AM/NS Calvert had been hit by a tornado associated with Hurricane Nate on Saturday. The information provided noted there was damage to the administration building, a storage building and some power lines on the property. There was no mention of any injuries. The note seen by SMU indicated that the mill would begin production at 3 P.M. on Sunday. We reached out to our media contacts at ArcelorMittal for comment, but had not heard back before our publishing deadline. We will continue to follow this story and will report on what we learn from ArcelorMittal once they respond to our requests for information.

Cable news is reporting that President Trump is considering "decertifying" the treaty with Iran, which is preventing them from developing nuclear weapons. Depending on the news source you listen to, the reasons for the potential decertification appear to be related to President Trump not liking what he perceives as the terms of the agreement. At what point does "ethics" become part of the narrative? Or is ethics always involved in each decision made?

How different is the president decertifying a treaty he doesn't like from a purchasing manager canceling a contract or an order that is no longer priced in his company's favor? At what point does trust between customers and suppliers become an issue?



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Final Thoughts

Wednesday, 04 October 2017 08:00

It's 10 PM and I am on a flight back to Florida having spent the last three days in Fort Wayne, Ind. We hosted one of the largest Steel 101 workshops in our history and the workshop went well. We spent Wednesday going over the classroom materials and then that evening our workshop was hosted by Charlie Trowbridge and the Steel Dynamics team for a networking event that included dinner. If you are in downtown Fort Wayne, you will want to try out the Hoppy Gnome. SDI and the Hoppy Gnome put on a tremendous event, which also included Jerry Henry and Pete Henry from Paragon Steel who hosted our group on a tour of their service center earlier today.



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Final Thoughts

Monday, 02 October 2017 08:00

I am in Fort Wayne, Ind., along with members of my Steel 101 team, John Eckstein, Mario Briccetti, Steve Murphy, Steve Painter, Sandy Williams, as well as Tim Triplett who will be attending his first Steel 101 workshop. Over the next two days, we will be working with a large class of attendees and discussing the steel making and rolling process. We will also discuss how steel is bought and sold and some of the factors that are key to supply and demand, as well as costs.

I want to take a moment to thank Charlie Trowbridge and all of the management and employees at Steel Dynamics (SDI) as we will be touring their steel mill on Thursday morning. Later in the morning, we will tour the Paragon Steel service center operation, which is located on the campus of SDI. I want to thank Pete Henry for the invitation to tour their facility and for working with SMU to ensure that our Steel 101 attendees get the most out of our program.



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Final Thoughts

Friday, 29 September 2017 08:00

I am in Chicago and will be here until Tuesday when I make my way to Fort Wayne, Ind., to conduct one of our Steel 101 workshops. A special thank you to SDI and Paragon Steel for allowing our workshop to tour each of their plants. This workshop has been sold out for a number of weeks.

Our next Steel 101 workshop, which is now open for registrations, will be held Jan. 24-25, 2018, in Mobile, Ala. We will be touring the SSAB Mobile minimill. You can find more information about this workshop on our website.



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Final Thoughts

Wednesday, 27 September 2017 08:00

We have a busy issue this evening, so I will keep my final thoughts brief.

Next week I will be in Fort Wayne, Ind., as we conduct one of our Steel 101: Introduction to Steel Making and Marketing Fundamentals workshops. We will tour Steel Dynamics' Butler facility and Paragon Steel's flat rolled steel service center. I want to thank both SDI and Paragon for their hospitality.

Our next Steel 101 workshop was put up on the website today. We will be in Mobile, Ala., on Jan. 24 & 25, 2018, where we will tour the SSAB Mobile minimill. If you have any questions about this workshop, please contact us at: info@SteelMarketUpdate.com or by phone at 800-432-3475.



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Final Thoughts

Monday, 25 September 2017 08:00

There have been a number of master sheets showing projected steel mill maintenance outages for the last couple weeks of September through the end of this calendar year. Steel Market Update (SMU) is following through with our mill sources, as well as steel buyers, to see if we can confirm the outages and if there is any need for buyers to be concerned about receiving their orders as promised. The initial projection has close to one million tons of production being impacted.

From my perspective and experience, I do not see any need for alarm based on what I have seen so far. Most of the flat rolled mills are taking short outages on their rolling equipment (hot strip mill, cold mill, coating lines), which is normal for this time of year. I am not yet sharing the list as I have reached out to a number of the steel mills to see if they will confirm (or correct) what we have seen from steel buyers. We did get a couple of responses prior to going to publication, but there were still a couple left that I wanted to confirm if possible. I will share a flat rolled maintenance list with our readers on Thursday.



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Final Thoughts

Friday, 22 September 2017 08:00

A note that SMU adjusted our Price Momentum Indicator to Lower from Neutral on Friday. I have explained 10 of the reasons why (and there are more) in the first article in tonight's newsletter. If you would like to make comments, feel free to reach out to me at John@SteelMarketUpdate.com.



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