Results of the October 2018 Sassda Short Track Survey

The Sassda Short Track survey had 59 respondents in October. 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:

36% of Sassda respondents had a positive response to the current order situation which is better than a month ago (31%) but worse than a year ago (48%). The weighted average (2.38) is also better than last month (2.16) and again lower than a year ago (2.47).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

For ISSF flat product producers, 50% of respondents had a positive response to their orders levels, which is lower than a year ago (74%). The weighted average is also lower (2.35) compared to September 2017 (2.74).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

For ISSF long product producers, 63% of respondents had a positive response to their order levels which is lower than last month (83%) and worse than a year ago (81%). The weighted average (2.70) is lower than August (3.03) and a year ago (3.06).

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

33% of Sassda respondents thought the current business situation was positive, which is up on September (24%) and about the same as a year ago (35%). The weighted average has shown an increase this past month (2.33) compared to last month (2.14) and is up on October last year (2.29).

For ISSF Flat Products, the results were:

The percent of respondents who felt that the current business situation was sufficient or good stood at 45% for September 2018, which is down on the previous month (57%) and less than a year ago (57%).

For ISSF Long Products, the results were:

September took a further drop with a 62% positive response compared to 65% of the previous month. This was worse than the same month last year (69%). The weighted average of 2.55 was lower than the previous month (2.73) and a year ago (2.75).

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

22% of respondents thought things would get better (compared to 12% in September). 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 finally shown an increase in expectations with sentiments marginally going over 55%, the long-term average.

For ISSF Flat products. The results were:

In September 2018, again none of the respondents felt things would get better with 20% expecting things to get worse. The weighted average (2.20) is also lower than September 2017 (2.56).

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 31% thinking it would get worse. The weighted average of 2.10 lower than last month (2.41) and worse than a year ago (2.76).

The comments received from Sassda members were:

  • Although the current stainless steel work is small, we have tendered on a lot of good quality work due in the 1st quarter 2019
  • Business in general for … remains good and the outlook with what we are involved in, looks equally promising.
  • Stainless steel castings are a small part of our business. We have introduced a new operation of CNC machining of stainless fittings for our own use in-house as opposed to outsourcing the finished fitting.
  • The importation of finished stainless steel products is continuing to ruin the local market and will destroy local manufacturers.
  • The month of October seemed to nose dive dramatically across the entire metals industry.
  • THE Sappi-Saiccor project will go well into 2019. This will be positive for the local engineering and fabrication industry. Sugar mills shutdown will be starting up from November through to February 2019. Good for 3CR12 plate sales. Nothing else to report.
  • We can only hope that next year will be better.
  • We experience positive energy in the market and we are blessed with a good order book and pipeline for the next three months plus.
  • What training solution can be offered for warehouse staff working with product, is available to increase product knowledge for baseline staff. {Please contact Sassda for details on our warehouse course as we cannot ascertain who you are. Thanks.}
  • We have had a tough time in the [stainless steel] hand railing Industry. I must say though that our main customers have secured a great project in October, which has kept us busier this month than all the previous months this year.

Thus, the outlook seems a bit brighter overall with an improvement in orders

Thanks and Kind Regards

Angie Baker
KZN Regional