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Steel Price Trends and Forecast
Get the latest insights on price movement and trend analysis of Steel in different regions across the world (Asia, Europe, North America, Latin America, and the Middle East & Africa).
Steel Price Trend for the First Half of 2023
Asian steel market experienced fluctuating price trend throughout the said period of the first half of the year 2023, majorly tilted towards the lower side of the price curve. Owing to the restricted industrial and construction activities because of the global COVID-19 pandemic, steel usage has been limited.
This led to a surplus stockpile and overfilled inventories amidst a relaxed inflow of raw materials. Consequently, the prices were low in order to push the supply movement and vacate the inventories. Some reverse fluctuations were observed at the quarter shift, but the general market sentiment remained low.
The European steel market witnessed a mixed price trend in the first two quarters of 2023. After battling immensely high energy and power bills and economic inflation in the wake of the Russia and Ukraine conflict, industrial activities started picking some pace this year. With warming downstream demands, the prices inclined in the first quarter. However, the second quarter started dipping down again, driven by the lowered feedstock costs. Overall, oscillating market sentiments were observed.
The North American steel market almost replicated the European steel market trend. The prices first lifted in the first quarter and declined in the second. Downstream demands drove the market sentiments. The regular industrial activity kept a positive outlook in the first three months; however, the rising interest rates and inflation started taking a toll after that, and the demands dipped, resulting in backtracking of the steel price trend.
According to Procurement Resource, not much improvement is anticipated in the steel markets going forward. The global economy is having a tough time, which suggests a lack of support for the industrial sectors.
Steel Price Trend for Second Half of 2022
Steel prices oscillated in the global market in the third and fourth quarters of 2022. It was expected that with the ease of the covid restrictions in the Chinese region, the prices and demand for steel will bloom. However, the stagnant steel market depressed the price trend for steel. The weak domestic demand, high exports, declining prices of coking coal, and increasing pressure from the banking crises in the Asia-Pacific region aided the downward trajectory of steel prices.
In the last quarter, the Indian government ease the export duties on steel. This decision was mainly influenced by two factors- the domestic prices of steel were no longer responsible for inflation as they were sufficiently available in the domestic market and the export curb led to contraction of exports. This decision is expected to increase exports in the international market and will improve the overall market dynamics of steel.
In the European region also, the steel prices failed to gain the required momentum as significant steel destocking was observed. The weak demand, stockpiling, and rising inflation, all caused the prices of steel to remain on the negative side.
The North American market remained favourable for the prices of steel and its related products. The market saw high demand from the end-sector industries, mainly automotive, thus the prices of the commodity inclined in the region. However, this incline was short-lived and soon the prices started falling. The hiked interest rates, rising inflation, and contracting of the construction sector caused the baulking of consumers. Hence, the price trend for steel kept towards the lower end of the scale.
According to Procurement Resource, steel prices are likely to oscillate in the global market. The weak demand, rising inflation, and inclining input costs are likely to affect the steel market adversely in the coming months.
For the Second Quarter of 2022
In the Asian market, there were concerns about the supply in Q2 of 2022, plus the production costs due to the energy prices continued to affect the price in Q2/2022. Steel prices in Tangshan City increased by 13% from the beginning of Q1 to almost the end of the quarter, while the price of CFR steel in Southeast Asia increased by 33% over the same period.
The crisis between Russia and Ukraine has caused suppliers in India, Japan, and South Korea to concentrate more on the European steel markets, which has given developing Chinese companies the chance to establish themselves as "dominant" suppliers in the Asian market. This trend continued in Q2 of 2022 after the EU boosted its HRC import quota from South Korea to 27% and from India to 62% as of 1 April.
For most of 2022, US steel prices were significantly impacted by weak downstream demand, conservative service centre purchasing, and a continually large supply. Prices have decreased by 48 percent since the start of 2022 as a result of a market glut that has persisted since steelmakers overshot demand in the fourth quarter of 2021.
US Hot-Rolled Coil Index started the second quarter at 1,500 USD/st, matching the year-to-date high set in early April on an ex-works Indiana basis.
In Q2 2022, European steel prices fell as a result of declining manufacturing demand and restocked inventories as a result of Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Since reaching a record in March, hot-rolled coil, the standard flat steel product, has decreased by about a third. For the first time since February, prices were below 1,000 EUR/MT (1,042 USD).
For the First Quarter of 2022
In the third week of February 2022, China’s largest steelmaker, China Steel Corp, announced to increase prices by 2.44% as local demand improved, accelerating the inventory build-up. Angang Steel Co and Baowu Steel Group Ltd. also raised domestic steel prices in the range of 31.55 USD/MT to 63.11 USD/MT. As demand for steel improved globally, the market prices went up in the region amid limited supply from Japan and South Korea.
In March, the steel prices went up in Europe, increasing by almost 10% within the first two days of the month. The price rise resulted from the Ukraine-Russia war, which increased metal prices globally as input costs like energy and raw material and input shortages shot up. In March, the benchmark steel prices in Europe increased to 1160 EUR/MT as exports from Ukraine were disrupted by the war while Russia reduced its steel supplies to Europe, which tightened the market.
Prices in the US were in a downtrend in the beginning of 2022 after witnessing record highs in the previous year. As supply improved, the prices went into a downward spiral which only seemed to recover during the Ukraine-Russia war situation, which caused disruptions in the global supply chains. As pig iron supplies in the US plummeted, the raw material prices went up, causing manufacturers to hike the steel prices.
In March, the Brazilian steelmakers announced price hikes for the next quarter to recover weak margins due to the Ukraine-Russia war, which increased raw material and input costs. On March 11, steel slab FOB prices in Brazilian ports were recorded at 1100 USD/MT, increasing by 250 USD/MT within a week.
For the Fourth Quarter of 2021
In FY22, India's crude steel production is expected to expand by 18 % to 120 MT, owing to rising consumer demand. The Indian steel sector's expansion has been fueled by local accessibility of raw materials like iron ore and affordable labor. As a result, the sector's contribution increased significantly to India's manufacturing output.
China's crude steel production will likely be regulated in 2022 and beyond, limiting yearly output to levels comparable to those in 2021. This measure was intended to provide the steel sector greater flexibility in transitioning to a low-carbon economy, as well as to calm market speculation about steel output cuts, which have generated price volatility.
The current prices stand at an average 922.7 EUR/MT. The prices, as measured by different industry indices, reached record highs and show no signs of abating in 2021. Plate prices, on the other hand, increased at a slower rate in Q4 2021, and analysts anticipate that prices will settle in early 2022.
Additionally, the European government is seeking to implement a carbon border adjustment tax. This suggests that European legislation is becoming much stricter in order to contain the steel industry's carbon emissions. The measure could create difficulties for steel producers in EU member states.
Imports of certain steel goods, including as hot-rolled coil, grew in the latter months of 2021, as rising US prices made lower-cost imports more appealing despite taxes. Imports will continue to play a big role in the US market as long as regional costs stay significantly higher than global prices. Although imports to the United States are likely to increase sufficiently in 2022 to maintain pressure on local prices, which reached record highs in 2021, these deliveries will not necessarily reflect an import spike.
After a year of strong domestic demand for the alloy in 2021, which drove prices to an all-time highs, the Brazilian sector is likely to face downward pressures in 2022 due to economic recession, full inventories, and declining end-user demand.
For First, Second and Third Quarters of 2021
Prices continued to rise, reaching an all-time high of 58,000 INR/MT (ex-Mumbai) for benchmark hot-rolled coil (HRC) goods. This was due to the supply constraints and an increase in demand from the construction, automotive, and white goods sectors. In January 2020, the same grade of HRC was selling for 37,500 INR/MT in the Mumbai commodities market.
Domestic flat HRC prices had risen by 40% since April 2020 at the conclusion of the fiscal year ending March. Prices for long steel, or TMT, were approximately 30% higher within this one-year timeframe. In April 2021, Indian producers announced additional price increases in HRC of up to 1,000-2,000 INR/MT.
HRC was being provided in April 2021 at a price range of 59,700-60,000 INR/MT, up from 36,950 INR/MT in April 2020. This was the highest since 2008, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. India's exports increased by 121.6 % year on year in April 2021, compared to 2020. The government prolonged anti-dumping duties on a certain variety of steel products until December 15, 2021, in order to protect domestic manufacturers from low-cost imports from nations such as China, Japan, and Korea.
India was the world's second-largest manufacturer of crude steel in October 2021, with a 9.8 MT output. Despite being affected for a year by a lack of construction activity caused by covid-19, the steel sector recovered and reported a 25.6 % increase in crude steel output from January to August 2021.
Both crude steel and pig iron output in China declined year on year in December, with the former’s output falling by 6.8%, to 86.19 million mt, but rebounding significantly from November, climbing 20.3 % and 13%, respectively, month on month. According to industry sources, the month-on-month increase in crude steel output was consistent with market forecasts, as Chinese mills began ramping up production following the completion of output reduction requirements for 2021 in late November.
Bulk commodity prices increased in the first five months of the year, owing to a resurgence in global demand and government stimulus. However, Chinese mills were instructed to reduce production. These factors contributed to a 42% increase in China's prices since the start of the year. In FY'21, the median price of the eight primary steel products climbed dramatically over the previous year, with the biggest increase of 39.4 % for hot-rolled coils. The smallest rise, 33.6 %, was in grade-3 rebar. Other goods prices increased between 34% and 39% year on year.
In May 2021, a demand recovery fueled by government fiscal stimulus exceeded a modest gain in steel production in H1 2021. Since November 2020, European prices climbed by 81%, while steelmakers' margins increased by 300%, despite enormous rises in raw material costs. Additionally, EU steelmakers ceased giving spot market rates near 1050 EUR/MT (1247 USD). As the economy recovered and manufacturing demand increased, demand exceeded supply, driving the prices skyward due to supply chain limitations and material shortages.
Prices remained elevated as a result of the enormous gap between demand and supply, as well as the time required for supply to keep pace and refill depleted inventories. Numerous plants in the United States suspended output during the opening months of the COVID-19 epidemic shutdowns, assuming the world was heading for a deep recession. The drop in demand for iron ore and steel, on the other hand, was brief. The pandemic's effect on consumer spending habits and consumption patterns resulted in significantly larger demand than anticipated in the industry.
This, along with a very restricted supply due to the closure of numerous mills, resulted in a sharp increase in the price of the alloy, with the price of hot-rolled coil rising more than 200 % to 1,800 USD/T (short tonne) in July 2021. Global supply chains also contributed to price instability for US steel; for example, the semiconductor chip shortfall slowed automotive production, cutting the demand for the alloy while the shortage lasted. At the end of 2021, the hot-rolled coil index was estimated to be 1,500 USD/S EXW Indiana, up from 1,009 USD/T at the start of the year and then down from a record 1,960.25 USD/T in September.
However, as the issue was remedied, demand for the alloy within that industry grew again, exerting additional downward pressure on its prices.
Plants in Brazil profited from a distribution side restocking drive. Crude steel production grew 14.7% year on year to 36.03 MT in 2021, with the industry working at 73% of generation capacity. In 2021, imports accounted for the majority of market replenishment, at 4.97 MT a 144.1 % increase over 2020.
For the Year 2020
China remained the world's top steel producer in 2020, producing 1064.8 MT of it, or over 57% of all steel produced globally. Despite the growth in China's industrial production of the alloy, the country's imports climbed by 150% in the same year to 38.56 MT. Imports increased as companies battled to meet soaring demand sparked by government efforts to bring the economy out of a coronavirus-induced recession. Prices recovered out of a deep hole in April 2020 and remained on an upward trend for the remainder of the year as economic and industrial activity resumed.
The alloy performed better than projected, with prices climbing for most of the year. On 21 December 2020, hot-rolled coil (HRC) prices in Shanghai jumped to 4,970 RMB/MT, the highest level since the pricing series began in February 2016. China was followed by India, which produced 100.3 MT of steel in FY20.
Prices in Chennai reached 66.47 INR/kg in the fourth quarter of 2020. China's increasing demand for Indian iron ore claimed to have dramatically improved the steel price in India at the end of 2020. Iron ore prices began climbing in August'20 and peaked in May-June'21, owing mostly to the demand-supply imbalance.
The COVID-19 pandemic continued to run across Europe, affecting all sectors that rely on steel. In the second quarter of 2020, its consumption in the EU declined by 25% year on year, following a decline of 12% in the first quarter. This was the steepest decline in its usage the EU ever recorded. Imports declined further in 2020, continuing the trend established in 2019, but this time mostly as a result of the pandemic's impact on domestic demand.
As generally anticipated, the extraordinarily low trend in the demand in the second quarter of 2020 was a result of the economic and industrial lockdown imposed in reaction to the Covid-19 pandemic. Industrial activity resumed in the third quarter, following the government's COVID measures being lifted in significant part, decreasing the prices. In the upstream market, the average weekly price assessment for domestically delivered steel reinforcing bar (rebar) in Northern Europe was 573 EUR in December 2020.
The price of the alloy per metric tonne ranged between 500 USD and 800 USD in March 2020, prior to the COVID-19 epidemic. The demand initially decreased during the coronavirus pandemic, but quickly increased. At one point, prices were more than 300% more than they were before the epidemic, at more than 1,900 USD/MT.
The demand in the LATAM region fell by 10.1% in 2020 as a result of the LATAM countries' blanket shutdown of industry. Additionally, the epidemic extended the demand-supply imbalance, resulting in a consistent price range in Brazil throughout the year. Domestic prices in Brazil, particularly coil and rebar, remained relatively stable as companies refrained from raising prices in response to the Covid-19 crisis. In April 2020, the price of hot-rolled coil remained stable at a mean of 2,636-2,655 BRL/MT($516-519).
Procurement Resource provides latest prices of Steel. Each price database is tied to a user-friendly graphing tool dating back to 2014, which provides a range of functionalities: configuration of price series over user defined time period; comparison of product movements across countries; customisation of price currencies and unit; extraction of price data as excel files to be used offline.
Steel is an alloy of iron and carbon and chromium. It is used as a significant component in buildings, infrastructure, tools, ships, trains, automobiles, machines, appliances, and weapons because of its high tensile strength and low cost. Iron is known as the base metal for Steel.
|Construction, Infrastructure, Structural Engineering Applications, Automobiles, General Industrial Applications
|ArcelorMittal S.A, Hindustan Steel Corporation (LTD.), Tata Steel Limited, Nippon Steel Corporation
|Asia Pacific: China, India, Indonesia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Japan, Philippines, Vietnam, Iran, Thailand, South Korea, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Malaysia, Nepal, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, UAE, Israel, Hongkong, Singapore, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Australia, and New Zealand
Europe: Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy, Spain, Russia, Turkey, Netherlands, Poland, Sweden, Belgium, Austria, Ireland Switzerland, Norway, Denmark, Romania, Finland, Czech Republic, Portugal and Greece
North America: United States and Canada
Latin America: Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Chile, Ecuador, and Peru
Africa: South Africa, Nigeria, Egypt, Algeria, Morocco
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Steel can be produced in both blast furnaces as well as by electric furnaces via iron ores. While in the blast furnace steel is produced by converting liquid iron and steel scrap into steel. Electric furnaces uitlises melting scrap steel or direct reduced iron to produce steel.
The displayed pricing data is derived through weighted average purchase price, including contract and spot transactions at the specified locations unless otherwise stated. The information provided comes from the compilation and processing of commercial data officially reported for each nation (i.e. government agencies, external trade bodies, and industry publications).
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