Commodity Market Report

Global steel short-term outlook August 2020

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27 August 2020

Global steel short-term outlook August 2020

Report summary

Chinese steel production will exceed one billion tonnes this year. Blast furnace utilisation rates are up to 95% – they cannot produce more. Even traditionally higher cost EAF producers are churning out more steel. There are no signs of a slowdown in domestic demand. Increased output of heavy machinery and yet-to-be-used special-purpose bonds suggests steel demand will benefit in the tail-end of 2020. In the EU and US tentative production restarts have commenced. But if steelmakers bring back too much, too soon, prices will slide. Who will get the balance right? Meanwhile the green-steel evolution continues. In amongst plenty of short-term hyperbole, long-term strategies to reduce CO2 emissions are beginning in Europe.

Table of contents

  • Chinese steel production will certainly exceed one billion tonnes this year
  • EU tentative production restarts commence
  • A tough outlook not reflected by the confidence of US steelmakers
  • Indian crude steel production remains down 24% year-to-July
  • Which way will prices go?
    • Construction: potential is yet to release
    • Manufacturing: continuous improvement
    • Steel production is unstoppable
    • Will Indian crude steel production reach 100 Mt in 2020?
    • Flat steel prices remained firm, while longs witnessed volatility
    • The automotive sector is showing signs of a recovery
    • The only way is up?
    • Demand down as much as 30% year-to-July
    • Green steel evolution is coming – but beware of the short-term hyperbole
    • Capacity: is it already time to push for restarts?
    • No certainty, no problem! There is new capacity coming on!
    • Prices: cost analysis indicates the only way is up
    • Raw material prices
    • Coking Coal
    • Iron Ore
    • Steel prices
    • China
    • Europe
    • United States
    • Scrap

Tables and charts

This report includes 26 images and tables including:

  • AFSU (columns left axis) and growth (lines right axis)
  • Key annual data
  • Inventory of rebar at traders: unstoppable steel output has caused mounting rebar inventory
  • BF utilisation rate: 2019 versus 2020
  • Independent EAF utilisation rate: 2019 versus 2020
  • Downward trend in automobile sales since 2019; gradual recovery expected in H2 2020.
  • German hot-metal output responded quicker than expected to demand declines which started in mid-March
  • both German and French hot-metal output stayed low for four months, but a modest rise is expected in August
  • EU monthly apparent demand estimates and growth
  • A diagram of Voestalpine’s hybrid steelmaking plan
  • US’ COVID-19 related closures by current status
  • US HRC cost curve
  • Quarterly and annual steel prices
  • Quarterly and annual metallics prices
  • Monthly price history
  • Global crude-steel production
  • Global PMI indicators
  • Emerging markets apparent finished steel use
  • Mature economies steel consumption
  • Indian crude steel production and growth
  • Indian steel exports
  • EU+UK crude steel output
  • EU+UK hot metal production
  • US crude steel production and capacity utilisation
  • US employment
  • Summary

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Global steel short-term outlook August 2020

    PDF 2.99 MB