April 1, 2015
Short Takes from Platts
In every reporter’s notebook, there are comments from sources that just didn’t fit in the main story. Often they never see the light of day. Here are a few insightful nuggets from the experts at last month’s Platts North American Steel Conference:
• “The Energy Information Administration said we grew stock of crude oil by 9.6 million barrels last week. With this persistent growth in storage levels, we are oversupplied in North America. We cannot continue at this rate, because we are very close to capacity. At 450 million barrels today, we can be full at the 520 million capacity level by the end of April.” Nicole Leonard, Bentek Energy.
• “This year is a very significant year for labor relations for the integrateds. It’s an open contract year for ArcelorMittal and U.S. Steel. These discussions are always tricky. There’s a potential for disruption. As far as I can tell, the odds favor a deal, but there are significant issues on the table for both sides of the discussion.” John Tumulty, Calibre Group LLC.
• “There’s a lot of focus on Keystone. But what a lot of people miss is the huge number of pipelines that need to go in. Each and every day there are different approval processes for the various pipelines. So will this pipeline happen in six months? Will it happen in a year? From our perspective, it doesn’t matter. They will happen, and when they do, we’ll be ready to serve them.” Conrad Winkler, Evraz North America.
• “In the long term, people will make products closer to where the demand is. The labor cost disparity eventually goes away. That’s why I’m a big believer in U.S. manufacturing. Long term, it has to be here.” Vince Pappalardo, Stout Risius Rose.
• “Our firm’s view is that the dollar is going to be strong for a while. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but we’re the one economy that’s showing strength. We’re not employing QE, but we probably will be sometime in the future, and raising interest rates slightly. It’s not an environment where the dollar is going to reverse course any time soon.” Timna Tanners, Bank of America Merrill Lynch.
For more coverage of the Platts Conference, see the main story in the April issue of Metal Center News.