Results of the January 2019 Sassda Short Track Survey

The Sassda Short Track survey had 70 respondents in January. This survey uses the same questions as those used in the monthly International Stainless Steel Forum’s (ISSF) Short Track Report. However, the ISSF survey is only of stainless steel primary producers and thus the results are not directly comparable but are used to give context.

For Sassda respondents, the results of the first question were:

28% of Sassda respondents had a positive response to the current order situation which is a sharp drop, when compared to November (40%) and also worse than a year ago (43%). The weighted average (2.19) is worse than November and again lower than a year ago (2.42).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

For ISSF flat product producers, 48% of respondents had a positive response to their orders levels, which is lower than a year ago (65%). The weighted average is also lower (2.40) compared to December 2017 (2.59).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

For ISSF long product producers, 69% of respondents had a positive response to their order levels which is better than last month (63%) but worse than a year ago (87%). The weighted average (2.76) is better than November (2.70) but lower than a year ago (3.18).

For Sassda respondents, the results of the second question were:

22% of Sassda respondents thought the current business situation was positive, which is worse than November (33%) and lower than a year ago (39%). The weighted average has shown a decrease this past month (2.18) compared to last month (2.28) and is down on January last year which was (2.37).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

The percent of respondents who felt that the current business situation was sufficient or good stood at 43% for December 2018, which is marginally lower than the previous month (45%) and less than a year ago (56%).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

December took a further drop with 37% positive response compared to 50% for the previous month. This was worse than the same month last year (69%). The weighted average of 2.35 was lower than the previous month (2.50) and a year ago (2.88).

For Sassda respondents, the results of the third question were:

22% of respondents thought things would get better which was the same as the previous month. However, 12% thought things would get worse.

The above data can be converted to the Sassda Expectations Index, where the index is calculated as 0.5 x % unchanged + % better. Above 50 would predict expansion in the next three months.

This month has shown a slight increase in expectations and moving back above 55%, the long-term average.

For ISSF Flat products. The results were:

In December 2018 10% of the respondents felt things would get better with 5% expecting things to get worse. The weighted average (2.26) is also lower than December 2017 (2.55).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

6% of ISSF long product respondents felt that business would get better in the next three months, with 19% thinking it would get worse. The weighted average of 2.33 is lower than last month (2.50) and worse than a year ago (2.81).

The comments received from Sassda members were:

  • SME’s need to receive much needed assistance as far as pricing and allocation of possible contracts;
  • Not good at the moment;
  • The continued support by SA Government for Chinese trade and product dumping will be the end of the local industry;
  • I may be wrong, but my feel[ing] is that the local stainless steel industry is till not quite yet on the rise…;
  • We do not foresee any growth until after the elections, and only then depending on the results;
  • Stainless Steel industry needs to pick up. Awareness of what stainless steel is, is still poor;
  • Management, and many captains of industry, don’t see the economy improving until, hopefully, after the general elections.

In general, the trends, both for Sassda and ISSF respondents show downward trends. It seems to be a bleaker start to the new year compared to the start of 2018.

Thanks and Kind Regards

Lesley Squires
Market Intelligence & Exports
Tel: +27 11 883 0119 | Cell: +27 82 758 8074