Global Market Overview of Steel

June 2022

This report analyses global production, consumption and prices of steel. The global steel industry swiftly recovered after the COVID-19 shock. While supply struggled to meet booming demand in 2021, steel prices skyrocketed. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine added to global supply shortages, further fuelling prices. Nevertheless, steel prices are expected to stabilise by 2023 as the construction boom eases and countries find alternative ways to supplement supply shortages from Russia and Ukraine.

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Key findings

Steel prices are projected to peak in 2022

Steel prices are projected to stabilise by 2023 as countries find alternative supply to replace losses from the Russian and Ukrainian markets. Moreover, Chinese trade limitations amidst its persisting zero-COVID-19 policy are expected to be lifted, allowing the largest global steel producer to utilise its production on the global market.

Construction to slow down as subsidies phased out and inflation rises

The construction sector was the key driver of the steel demand boom in 2021, however, the phasing out of subsidies, elevated uncertainties, rising essential commodities prices and projected rise in borrowing costs are anticipated to lead to slower residential construction demand over the forecast period.

Cooldown of construction market to be compensated by rising machinery demand

Machinery demand grew after COVID-19 as industrial activities picked up. Moreover, automation becomes an important investment as companies deal with labour shortages and aim to mitigate risks of potential shutdown due to virus spread as occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic. Moreover, given the looming food crisis due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, agricultural machinery is expected to gain momentum as countries aim to boost productivity and yields.

Sustainability, decarbonisation and circular economy on the agenda

Rising emissions permit costs, increasing pressure from society and governmental regulations push the carbon-intensive steel industry to seek solutions to reduce its carbon footprint. Sustainability is projected to become an important trend in the industry over the long term. Companies are also expected to invest in recycling of scrap metal waste aiming to lower the negative environmental impact of their production.

Introduction

Scope
Key findings
Key trends impacting steel market in 2022

Global Supply of Steel

Production of steel surged in 2021 on the back of robust demand recovery
Prices surged as economies entered recovery, stimulating construction sector demand
While prices jumped following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pressure is expected to cool
China remains key steel producer, despite supply chain disruptions
Despite supply chain disruptions, China maintains solid production volume growth
China: Government aims to curb steel output growth to reduce carbon emissions
India: Tightening global raw materials supply might curb steel output growth
Japan: Rising raw material prices and slower local/foreign demand hinder production outlook

Global Consumption of Basic Iron and Steel

Global steel consumption bounced back in 2021 after setback due to COVID-19
China: Slower construction growth to be compensated by expanding automotive sector
Japan: Slowdown in construction to curb steel consumption
South Korea: While consumption maintains growth, global uncertainties prevail
Machinery, automotive and construction remain key steel consuming industries
Machinery: Recovering industrial activities and rise of automation drive industry’s demand
Motor vehicles and parts: Struggling logistics, rising costs and cooling down of demand
Construction: Phaseout of subsidies and elevated inflation to cool down industry’s growth
Aircraft and spacecraft: Industry to see recovery as commercial flights bounce back
Ships and boats: Industry to witness mild growth thanks to rebounding tourism

Country Snapshots

Top 10 country profile: China
Top 10 country profile: India
Top 10 country profile: Japan
Top 10 country profile: USA
Top 10 country profile: South Korea
Top 10 country profile: Russia
Top 10 country profile: Germany
Top 10 country profile: Turkey
Top 10 country profile: Brazil
Top 10 country profile: Vietnam

Conclusion

Key challenges and opportunities
Economic forecasts
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