Global steel cost summary
The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted steelmaking raw material markets resulting in a wobbly year for prices, and consequently steelmaking costs. Other than the pandemic, China remained the key driver of raw material prices in 2020. Unexpected strong demand, higher hot metal production (contrary to production decline ex-China) and import ban on Australian coal were the major moves from China that kept the market dynamic. For the year, iron ore prices were up 18% while hard-coking coal prices and scrap prices were down by 25% and 7% respectively. The overall result is the global average cash cost for finished steel decreased by 2.1% in 2020, to US$458/tonne.