Resilient Supply Chains

Has resiliency been restored in the global supply chain? According to a supply chain report card published by the office of the White House in early June, the answer is yes.

In general, resilient supply chains rely on the smooth functioning of suppliers, producers, and transporters across the globe. That resiliency was tested by the COVID-19 pandemic and further intensified by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Today, according to the report, critical supply chains are significantly more fluid and resilient due to a myriad of indicators, including:

  • Improved throughput at ports: The backlog of anchored vessels at North American ports, which reached a peak of 155 in 2021, shrank to roughly 12 in May 2023.
  • Increased access to transportation: Roughly 120 new trucking firms have Registered Apprenticeship programs to help attract, train, and retain talent.
  • Stocked shelves: 92% of goods at grocery and drug stores are in stock. This is above pre-pandemic levels.

One of the most significant indicators that global supply chains are improving comes from The New York Fed’s Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI). This acts as a barometer of the health of the global supply chain. A reading of zero indicates that the supply chain is operating as expected.


The GSCPI peaked in December 2021 at 4.31, meaning supply chain pressures were significantly higher than the index’s historical average. But that reading continues to come down, registering at -1.71 in May, down from -1.35 in April.

Further indication that supply chains are improving comes from the Institute for Supply Management’s Supplier Deliveries Index. The delivery performance of suppliers to manufacturing organizations was faster for the eighth straight month in May. The index registered 43.5%, 1.1 percentage points lower than in April.

2020 exposed the complexity of supply chains and manufacturing operations for business leaders across the globe. The response hasn’t been uniform—some decision-makers have changed the way they go to market entirely, focusing on building the core product while external suppliers handle the rest. Other companies have adapted parts of their business through nearshoring and other changes while keeping certain operations in-house.

For this reason, Ryerson has introduced The Next Shift, powered by Ryerson Advanced Processing. This online resource is designed to help manufacturers answer the biggest questions facing their global supply chain.

Check out this new resource to help advise your decisions on the global supply chain.


Stainless Surcharge Tug-of-War

The ebb and flow of both production and geopolitical issues have resulted in significant bouts of volatility in the inputs of stainless steel.

Chrome prices are heading towards multi-year highs as electricity shortages mount in South Africa.

Nickel prices have been riding a wild roller coaster over the past year and recently sold off on weaker-than-expected Chinese economic data. China's PMI (Purchasing Managers' Index) came in at 48.80 in May, down from 49.20 in April and down from 49.60 one year ago.

Meanwhile, prices of molybdenum and scrap have retreated substantially from their highs.

So, what does it all mean for stainless steel buyers? The resulting impact on stainless surcharges will be mixed depending on the grade. As of June 15, the July estimates were as follows:

  • 304 stainless: $1.1331 (down more than 8% from June)
  • 316 stainless: $1.7170 (down nearly 7% from June)
  • 430 stainless: $0.3824 (down more than 5% from June)

Check out the latest prices for stainless surcharges and some key commodities moving metals. 


Plate vs. Sheet Prices

Capacity is up, and prices are down in the domestic steel market as of late.

In the week ending on June 10, 2023, the steel mill capability utilization rate was 77.3%, the highest it has been since August 2022.

Sheet prices continue to correct as mill input costs decline and global steel prices continue to fall. Prices as of June 15:

  • Hot Roll: $939/ton, down $190/ton since the previous month (up $227/ton YTD)
  • Cold Roll: $1,115/ton, down $229/ton since the previous month (up $180/t YTD)
  • Coated: $1,159/ton, down $260/ton since the previous month (up $156/ton YTD)

However, a few steel mills announced $50/ton price increases on all carbon flat-rolled products in early June, which could shake things up quickly.

As for the price of steel plate, as of June 15 it was $1,545/ton, down only slightly from the previous month. In fact, the spread between plate mill plate prices and hot-rolled coil has spiked in recent weeks. The spread as of June 15 was $542/ton.

As of June, the plate market shows resiliency as prices remain stable, driven by better-than-expected demand conditions and a limited number of plate mills.