Commodity Market Report

Steel markets – short-term outlook – April 2021

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30 April 2021

Steel markets – short-term outlook – April 2021

Report summary

Chinese production cuts imposed by the government on 20th March have not dented crude steel output. With demand, prices and margins this strong how are supply side cuts ever going to work? China MIIT’s target for current year output to be lower than 2020’s 1.065 billion tonnes will not be met. Also in this month’s short-term outlook: President Biden’s infrastructure bill triggers a wave of enthusiasm among US steelmakers – but don’t expect a surge in steel demand. EU HRC prices up 17% month-on-month in April – manufacturing sentiment is driving the rise and conditions are prime for a H2 price plummet. India’s integrated mills have in-house oxygen production and so face limited impact as industrial oxygen supply is re-directed towards the health sector in response to the worsening pandemic.

Table of contents

    • Reaching new highs
    • Robust demand growth of 15% year-on-year led by property sector
    • Production grappled with soaring demand
    • Prices at all-time high
    • What to expect for the rest of the year
    • Demand to slow down in the remaining three quarters
    • Production to follow suit but MIIT’s target far out of reach
    • A sweeping infrastructure bill but, a bit bitter for steelmakers
    • All but traditional infrastructure
    • The verdict: demand increment to be south of 1%
    • Prices
    • Supply
    • Demand
    • Indian steel production remains upbeat, but marginal downside expected in near term
    • Automotive and housing sectors perform well in Q1, will be impacted in Q2
    • South Korea slowly ascending on production growth trajectory; Japan marred under pressure of rising coronavirus infections
    • Steel prices continue an unprecedented upward stride
    • How did we get here?
    • Domestic steel mills emerge on top
    • Will prices hold? For how long?
    • Iron ore
    • Coal
    • Green steel initiatives
    • Industry developments

Tables and charts

This report includes 20 images and tables including:

  • EU apparent demand forecast
  • EU production forecast
  • Q1 2021: Year-on-year growth in end-use sectors
  • Highest ever production in Q1
  • Trade balance improved
  • Margins edged upwards in April
  • US infrastructure bill and steel intensity
  • American rescue plan: total steel consumption
  • Automotive sales growth
  • Loan growth indexed to March 2020
  • Crude steel production growth
  • Vehicle production growth (%)
  • Flat – Hot-rolled coil (HRC) price trend
  • Long – Rebar price trend
  • Crude steel production: Vietnam and Thailand
  • Southeast Asia finished steel imports
  • Global crude-steel production
  • Global PMI indicators
  • US crude steel production and capacity utilisation
  • US employment

What's included

This report contains:

  • Document

    Steel markets – short-term outlook – April 2021

    PDF 1.47 MB