Steel: what to look for in 2016

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Report summary

With the only growth coming from mature, saturated regions or relatively small emerging economies, it is no surprise that we expect a 40 million tonnes contraction for global steel demand in 2015. And while we expect demand to start growing again, we do not expect a radical change of scene in 2016 nor in the medium term for that matter. The single most consequential trend for steel demand will remain the contraction in the construction sector in China. Despite steps to erode the stock of unsold houses, we expect the level to remain very high, and possibly rise further in 2016. As a consequence, the investment appetite in the construction sector will remain depressed, the capacity of China's economy to absorb its own enormous steel production limited, and the volume of exports from China very high, albeit lower than in 2015. In sum, this will lead average 2016 prices below 2015 levels.

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    Steel: what to look for in 2016

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Table of contents

    • Demand in China – the construction sector will be further challenged
    • Demand in the BRICs hits the breaks
    • The consequences of trade restrictions
    • Supply reform in China – a strategic change?
      • 1. Permanent capacity closures
      • 2. Consolidation?
      • 3: Government support for steel producers
    • Costs: another BOF year
    • Risks to DRI production in Middle East and North Africa (MENA)

Tables and charts

This report includes 9 images and tables including:


  • China stock of unsold property
  • China steel in construction sector growth
  • Producers remain heavily dependent on exports
  • Producers remain heavily dependent on exports
  • Shagang BOF vs EAF-allscrap
  • Import price change, Jan-December 2015
  • MENA reversed imports
  • MENA DRI production


  • Supply response ex-China

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