February 3, 2021
How We Got Here
Given demand uncertainty during early COVID lockdowns, domestic steelmakers curbed capacity as manufacturers closed facilities and many service centers reduced inventory. Idling over 50% of domestic production, the domestic supply chain depleted throughout the remainder of 2020 resulting in production challenges, extended lead-times and lean inventories throughout the market today.
After the lockdowns, factory re-openings and a shift in consumer spending caused a sudden spike in steel demand. With a pent-up need for cars, residential construction, appliances, equipment and machinery, steel supply has become very tight across the domestic and global market. Steelmakers slowly restarted some of the idled production, however orders outpaced supply, setting the stage for the current market conditions.
The Industry Today
We are currently in an unprecedented flat rolled steel market. Demand is recovering, supply is still tight, and pricing has hit all-time highs (since 2008). Residential construction has been a key driver to demand recovery, backed by low mortgage rates and the change in people’s lifestyles. Domestic production is starting to recover, but continues to lag behind pre-pandemic levels.
Compounding the supply issue is new leadership across the landscape whose priorities may differ from those of the past. As these mills are looking to better manage their order book, lead times are extending, spot availability is close to non-existent, and contracts are on allocation. Increasing raw material costs with limited imports has led to prices climbing at an accelerated rate over the last few months.
The United States has the highest cash in circulation since World War II. That money is expected to be spent as COVID fades. Historically, pent up cash has led to economic booms. If the pattern holds, and we expect it will, demand for steel intensive goods will remain high. As consumer spending returns, vaccinations accelerate, and states continue to reopen, GDP forecasts for 2021 have been revised upwards from 4.5% to 5%.
Those who have been in the steel industry are familiar with managing various market cycles, however this one feels different. Fundamental shifts to the supply side will most likely result in changes for the foreseeable future. There is new leadership at major domestic mills, a renewed focus on longer term value, and further consolidation and rationalization of integrated production as new mini mills come online.
Things to Watch For
August 12, 2020
Yesterday was a beautiful day on the green as Atlas sponsored it’s Sixth Consecutive Year of the Tee It Up for the Troops. We’re thankful for those that have served, are serving, and will be serving this country.Read More
January 29, 2020
We were honored to receive an award from Bill Rouleau of Tee It Up for the Troops in recognition of sponsoring their events for the last 5 years.
Paul (left) served 13 years in the United States Marine Corps from 2001 to 2014. Paul served as a Combat Engineer in four overseas deployments to Iraq and Africa. Paul has worked for Atlas since 2015 and currently is the Facilities and Maintenance Manager.
Chris (right) served 4 years in the United States Marine Corps 2004 to 2008. Chris served as an Infantry Machine Gunner and deployed once to Ramadi, Iraq. Chris has worked for Atlas since 2018 and currently is the Maintenance Mechanic.Read More
January 10, 2020
We were thrilled to see our President Mark Engel featured in the January 2020 edition of the Fabricator Magazine. He was interviewed on how he got started, and what technologies made an impact for him, and for Atlas. Check it out by clicking on the Fabricator logo below.Read More
October 14, 2019
On Monday October 7th, we participated in the 2019 Sports for Special Kids Golf Tournament in Raleigh, NC. This was the 15th annual event that benefits Sports for Special Kids, a charity that helps special needs children experience sports with the eventual goal of creating a facility designed just for them. In addition to a great time golfing, guests enjoyed breakfast and lunch, drinks, and other festivities all for a great cause! We are happy to support charities that benefit those in our community.
On Thursday October 3rd, we participated in the 2019 Border Battle Golf Scramble. While this event provided a fun activity for us, it also helped to benefit our community. All proceeds from the scramble went towards benefiting ECASD (Eau Claire Area School District) homeless students. During the past school year, 311 students found themselves in a homeless situation. This program provides support for uninterrupted education while students are experiencing homelessness. Thank you to all who helped put on this fantastic event!
October 11, 2019
Atlas hosted their 5th Annual Customer event On September 24th! The event was at The Royal Golf Club in Lake Elmo.
We love to use this event as an opportunity to get to know our customers better with some friendly competition. The day featured a 4 person scramble, with first place trophies handed out to the team with the lowest score. Thank you to all who attended this fun event!
September 30, 2019
This month we are making a donation to Sharing and Caring Hands. This was chosen by our customer of the month from a list of charitable organizations that was selected by our employees.
Sharing and Caring Hands was founded in 1985 by Mary Jo Copeland as a safety-net organization to help those who could not obtain help from the welfare system. They exist as a vehicle for volunteers to commit their time and resources to make a difference in the lives of the people of the community. Sharing and Caring Hands provides a host of services that include food, clothing, shelter, transportation assistance, medical and dental help and much more to the over 20,000 people who come through their facility each month. Over $400,000 is spent each month on the needs of the poor.
Atlas is thankful to be able to contribute to a cause that benefits our community. To learn more about Sharing and Caring Hands’ mission or how you can make a difference, visit their website.
August 15, 2019
For the month of August, Atlas is making a donation to the National MS-Society. We believe in helping our community and giving what we can to help others out. Our employees and customers have highlighted this organization as important to them.
The National MS-Society is an organization built to find a medical solution to Multiple Sclerosis, a disease that attacks the central nervous system. They have the ultimate goal of finding a way to stop this disease in its tracks, help those who are fighting it, and restore what has been lost. We believe this organization is working towards amazing things and doing what they can to make a difference.
Due to all the generous donations the National MS-Society has been able to make tremendous progress. They host multiple events throughout the year that you can participate in to help raise awareness. Also, they always need volunteers. Check out their website for more details. Atlas is proud to make another contribution to the National MS-Society.
August 12, 2019
Here at Atlas, we know the importance of recognizing our employees and thanking them for all that they do for this company. Thus, we hosted the 1st Annual Summer Fest celebration this past week. We had one goal for this event, and that was to show our appreciation for the Atlas employees. We truly understand that there would be no Atlas without our hardworking staff. We wanted this celebration to encompass, in two words, all things “Summer Fun”.
The Human Resources summer intern was given free reign for this summer fest- and she went in the direction of a Summertime Mexican Fiesta theme. It was equipped with Mexican classics like street tacos with a Guadalajaran flare and a mariachi band, fused with summer favorites like a dunk tank and a water balloon toss. The party was knitted together with brightly colored tables and decorations, a frozen drink machine, and outdoor games. For the kiddos, a taco piñata and face painting were the biggest hits of the day! Guests also enjoyed raffles with the chance to win baseball tickets, electronics, coolers, and more.
It was a fun day filled with perfect weather, lots of laughter, and a whole bunch of fun! We were ecstatic to see that even some of our Chippewa Falls folks made the trek to celebrate. Katelyn had such a blast planning this special day and was proud to put on an event that people had FUN at! We cannot thank our Atlas employees enough for everything they do – but we hope this party just scratched the surface of our appreciation.