From the Editor

  • Celebrating success Jul 30, 2018

    The winners of the 2018 American Metal Market Awards for Steel Excellence are profiled in this issue of Metal Market Magazine.

  • Top steelmakers Jun 01, 2018

    Metal Bulletin’s ranking of top steelmakers by output has been a long-standing opportunity to take an annual snapshot of the geographical distribution of production, and one indicator of the relative health of different national and regional steelmaking industries.

  • Innovative Thinking May 03, 2018

    Innovation is a recurring theme in this super-size issue of Metal Market Magazine.

  • Challenging Times Apr 09, 2018

    These are challenging times for steel and metal markets, causing many businesses in their supply chains to reassess their strategies at both the input and output ends of their operations to find the best solutions and exploit unexpected opportunities.

  • Dynamic markets Mar 01, 2018

    It is a fact that markets tend to be cyclical. It is also true that the number and relative strength of factors impacting any given market change more rapidly at some points in time than others.

  • A new chapter Jan 31, 2018

    Welcome to this first issue of Metal Market Magazine.

  • A teachable moment . . . Nov 29, 2017

    In what some might consider the bloodless equivalent of the honor code of seppuku practiced by Samurai warriors in feudal Japan, Kobe Steel Ltd. is going to gut-wrenching lengths to come to terms with a data-tampering scandal that has spooked the worldwide metals supply chain and punctured Japan Inc.’s reputation for product quality.


    A special announcement from the editor...

  • Some things never change. . . sort of May 03, 2017

    Many, many, many years ago, when scrap-based mini-mills didn’t rule the land and entrepreneurs the ilk of Ken Iverson and Willy Korf weren’t – and didn’t want to be – card-carrying members of the Pittsburgh, Chicago and eastern Pennsylvania-centric “Big Steel” club, the publication I worked for ran an editorial titled “American Steel, Made in Washington.”

  • Energy looks to help out in steel’s hoped-for rebound Feb 17, 2017

    The fate of domestic hot-rolled coil is closely aligned to crude oil prices, according to industry analysts, and in 2016 there was a recovery in both markets.

  • Trade remains high up on list of metals concerns Jan 27, 2017

    Global steel competition, concerns about overcapacity, unfair trade practices and potential new export opportunities frequently are weighed into day-to-day moves that steelmakers consider.

  • Our annual survey shows optimism in the New Year Dec 21, 2016

    What a difference a day makes, if that day is Election Day and if the difference affects the metals industry.

  • Tech is a key to unlocking future metals successes Nov 15, 2016

    “The flood gates have opened and they aren’t going to close. Technology and the metals industry’s use of technology to differentiate and improve companies will not stop going forward.”

  • Energy still struggles while automotive is helping out Sep 26, 2016

    Two big factors, both related to energy–one bad, one good–have come to define the metals industry of late.

  • Equipment a key to staying in the hunt Aug 29, 2016

    As the annual AMM Scrap Conference approaches later in the fall, it seems fair to characterize the ferrous scrap world as a bit volatile.

  • Tough times do not have to be simply tough luck Jul 19, 2016

    According to the old chestnut, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going."

  • Latest steel century still holds promise for gains May 31, 2016

    From the Editor

  • Urge to standstill needs to be resisted, even now Apr 27, 2016

    All along the supply chain for nearly two years, pain has been a common experience for many of those involved in metals. But even during what have been tough times recently, another important factor also has been shared—innovation.

  • Scrap businesses must recycle their mettle Mar 24, 2016

    Although the first quarter of 2016 has not seen the severe price drops of just a year ago, and just because January and March prices were up and February was essentially sideways, it does not mean the worst is over for the industry as the annual convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries approaches.

  • Energy, distributors down while auto still helps out Feb 24, 2016

    Steel production, sales and prices have not had a good run of it for nearly two years now, as the sector is feeling woes all along the supply chain. Three big factors–two bad, one good–have come to define the issue of late.

  • Last year was one that most would rather forget Feb 04, 2016

    When the books were finally closed, 2015 clearly was a remarkable year in the recent history of the ferrous scrap market – and most nonferrous ones as well – although 12 months that many on the selling side of the ledger would probably like to forget.

  • Annual survey shows concerns about new year Jan 06, 2016

    “I can’t predict it. This is the toughest-to-read market I have ever seen.” That assessment, from one of the executives who responded to this year’s AMM survey of attitudes toward business in the new year, reflects the state of concern many in the metals sector are feeling as 2016 gets under way.

  • Tech is a key to unlocking future metals successes Nov 23, 2015

    With serious economic challenges on the domestic and global fronts, this may not seem like the right time to make the case for metals makers to spend more on technology. Investments in equipment and information technology (IT) systems can be expensive and cumbersome, and choosing the right one can be a tricky decision. And perhaps in part because of this, there is a strong sense among analysts of the metals sector as well as among the suppliers of such solutions that the industry drags it feet more than most other businesses.

  • Steel’s health challenged, importance is stressed Sep 30, 2015

    Ever since the beginning of the depths of the Great Recession, metals sector executives, employees and investors have been pulling hard to keep business strong, improve productivity and make the right moves to position their companies to become more competitive.

  • Changes in scrap playing field worry some Aug 27, 2015

    The dramatic fall in prices in this year's scrap market have overshadowed a bigger and ultimately more important trend- the ongoing consolidation with the metals industry.

  • Revenues up but some challenges still remain Aug 01, 2015

    AMM’s annual survey of service center revenues and business planning shows that although revenues are up slightly this year over last—just as 2014 was over 2013—the more significant growth rates seen in 2010 and 2011 as metals emerged from the Great Recession do not appear likely to be repeated in the near term.

  • Steel, SSS have traveled on a long path together Jun 01, 2015

    When the annual event now known as Steel Success Strategies (SSS) kicked off three decades ago, Ronald Reagan was president, the Soviet Union was still in existence, the Internet was in its infancy, cellphones were practically the size of cinderblocks, the Dow Jones industrial average stood at nearly $1,900, No. 1 heavy melting was around $73 a ton and a ton of steel was about $480.

  • Innovation is critical for steel to thrive and survive May 06, 2015

    As Nucor Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer John Ferriola pointed out at an industry event in mid-March, technological innovation is critical to the steel industry right now. This message should strike other executives as not only self-evident, but urgent.

  • Scrap downturn is a major change Mar 24, 2015

    As the annual convention of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries approaches, to say that everything is not ideal in the ferrous scrap world would be a bit of an understatement. The first quarter of 2015 has presented scrap companies with their greatest challenges since the Great Recession helped to lower prices near the end of 2008. It hasn’t been a bed of roses on the nonferrous side, either.

  • Distributors' 2015 success depends on key strategies Mar 01, 2015

    Steel prices have been falling of late, creating some uncertainty for distributors in the first quarter and threatening to make 2015 a wild ride. While 2014 mostly held good news for metal distributors, it was just that: Good, but not great.

  • One thing seems certain: business attitude matters Jan 01, 2015

    The big question following the stunning Republican victories in the midterm elections—not just in the U.S. Senate, but also in governorships and statehouses—is whether 2015 will mark an end to political uncertainty or create an even more hardened version.

  • When it comes to growth in metals, IT is what it is Nov 01, 2014

    Make no mistake, technology is the secret—and often not-so-secret—weapon in the arsenal of every metals company. Employing the latest technology is woven into the very fiber of the metals industry.

  • Steel or aluminum? Watch the battle continue Oct 01, 2014

    Paper or plastic? Coal or oil? Wind or solar? Of all the contemporary contested cases involving the environment, there is another one that will certainly be most important for the metals sector: steel or aluminum?

  • Distributing risks, benefits can be a tricky business Aug 01, 2014

    As we point out in the introduction to the Service Center supplement included with this month’s magazine, the past 12 months have been mostly good for metals distributors. Good, but not great.

  • Steel’s success, strategies hurt by global challenges Jul 01, 2014

    While it is true that steel production is outpacing pre-recession levels on a global level, domestic output is still lagging far behind levels reached in summer 2008. And while U.S. capacity utilization rates continue to hover around mid-70-percent, imported steel continues to grab significant market share within the American economy.

  • Once again it’s time for steel’s best to shine Jun 01, 2014

    Four years ago, AMM decided to start a tradition and present awards for excellence in achievement in a variety of areas to steelmakers and those along the steel supply chain. Two years ago, we added a Steel Hall of Fame to recognize significant contributions from past and present individuals.

  • Tech talk: Advances keep metal industries moving Apr 25, 2014

    Technology always has been a two-way street in the metal industries: new developments in client sectors such as energy, transportation and construction help drive demand for more-advanced products, and transformational advances among metal makers push end-users in new directions as well.

  • Five years later, could pessimism be deeper? Mar 01, 2014

    When ferrous scrap market players gathered at the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries’ annual convention five years ago, many did so with a sense of optimism despite still being in the well of the economic downturn.

  • Who’s to blame if 2014 is another mediocre year? Jan 01, 2014

    “No confidence in this government,” said one respondent to the AMM survey of metal company executives. “We need to make our own best decisions from a business standpoint no matter what Washington does or doesn’t do.”

  • Scrap market keeps everyone guessing Oct 01, 2013

    At the 6th annual AMM Steel Scrap Conference in Philadelphia last November, a North American economy that had difficulty gaining traction was a major topic of conversation.

  • Steel executives present mixed feelings on future Aug 01, 2013

    Cautious is the word that best describes steel executives’ current thinking. The future looks like it will be brighter—after all, business is better than it was just four or five years ago—but there remains a nagging concern that something isn’t quite right.

  • At year’s halfway point, is the glass half empty or half full? Jun 27, 2013

    At the midpoint of 2013, it’s still unclear what kind of year it will be for the steel industry. Every positive signal seems to be counterbalanced by a negative one: Low-priced natural gas will help keep costs down, but U.S. trade policy may not keep foreign steel at bay; the overall economy continues to recover at a moderate pace, but tax and employment issues threaten to dull that edge; and automotive production and sales are holding firm, but raw material costs remain volatile and possibly harmful.

  • It's an honor to recognize the best May 27, 2013

    We always have a spring in our step here at AMM at the start of summer, an exciting time of year. Soon we will be announcing the winners in the fourth annual Awards for Steel Excellence program, as well as inducting the next group of honorees into our Steel Hall of Fame.

  • Find the energy to make your case, honestly May 01, 2013

    It’s not news, I suppose, to point out that energy is a contentious and controversial subject in America these days. After all, when is it not?

  • Scrap futures deserving of open-minded study Mar 27, 2013

    It is understandable that players in the scrap sector have approached CME Group Inc.’s new ferrous scrap futures contracts with a certain level of skepticism.

  • The only certainty is Government must work Jan 01, 2013

    I’m going to say something that will probably sound heretical to many in the metals sector: When it is functional, government provides certainty in an otherwise uncertain environment.

  • A wild year for scrap prices Nov 01, 2012

    What a difference a year makes. At AMM’s fifth annual Steel Scrap Conference in Chicago in November last year, much of the talk was about the remarkable run of stability the market had seen during 2011 up until then.

  • Comment: Information technology key to long-term success Oct 01, 2012

    Technology is vital to all metal sectors, but it’s not just breakthroughs in production and processes that are important to the bottom line. Information technology has become just as significant, and an array of hardware, software, systems analysis mechanisms and data-analysis tools are available to help metal companies make better decisions.

  • AMM Comment: Some visions of the future are clouded by caution Aug 29, 2012

    With the fourth quarter fast approaching and the presidential election looming ever closer, the view of where metal markets are heading seems no clearer than it was six months or even a year ago.

  • AMM Comment: The past still lives in our minds and actions Jul 01, 2012

    When William Faulkner wrote that “The past is never dead. It’s not even past,” chances are he wasn’t thinking about the steel industry. But nevertheless, the idea applies quite well. Without an awareness of metals history and at least living partially under the shadow that it casts, forward progress would not be possible.

  • AMM Comment: Seven habits of highly successful metal execs May 29, 2012

    At AMM, we’re going to be full of stars in the coming weeks as we induct the newest members of our Steel Hall of Fame and present awards for excellence to industry leaders in aluminum and steel. In this issue, we profile the latest Steel Hall of Fame inductees, as well as the finalists for our aluminum and steel awards.

  • AMM Comment: Steel industry should be embracing IT advances May 01, 2012

    This month’s issue offers a story on controlling risk in the aluminum sector. The use of information technology (IT) for budgeting, forecasting and other financial-related aspects of running a metals business are an important part of that approach. Aluminum firms are to be commended for their foresight here.

  • AMM COMMENT:  You’ve got to ask yourself one question Apr 01, 2012

    Other than the cowboy, there may not be a symbol that more powerfully evokes the American ideals of autonomy and individualism than the automobile. Those icons came together at halftime during the Super Bowl, when Chrysler aired an ad featuring Clint Eastwood. Before delving further into the ad, its fallout and what it says about the short-term fortunes of the automotive metals sector, some context is needed.

  • AMM COMMENT: Steel Hall of Fame honorees named Mar 01, 2012

    Sometimes, the greatest heat in steelmaking doesn’t come from the plant floor. Pressures to perform in competition with other companies and for the corporate bottom line can raise the temperatures in which executives must work every day.

  • COMMENT: AMM Steel Hall of Fame to honor all-time greats Feb 01, 2012

    Making steel may be all in a day’s work for millions of people around the world, but sometimes during the course of that effort a few individuals make history and long-lasting breakthroughs.

  • COMMENT: U, V, W not quite as easy as learning the ABCs Dec 19, 2011

    U, V and W: They’re not just the 21st, 22nd and 23rd letters of the alphabet. They also represent three competing theories on the current downturn and where the economy might be heading in 2012.

  • Comment: Automotive recovery bolsters case for government action Nov 01, 2011

    In modern America at least, economic recovery requires bipartisanship; better yet would be nonpartisanship. Paradoxically, this becomes truer in clearly divided political times such as today.