This could be one of the most difficult projections in years, as trade tensions between the U.S. and China add a significant amount of uncertainty to the mix. In its semi-annual report, the World Steel Association projects consistent increases in demand across the globe. Al Remeithi, chairman of the World Steel Economics Committee, pointed to the past year’s consistency:
“In 2018, global steel demand continued to show resilience supported by the recovery in investment activities in developed economies and the improved performance of emerging economies.”
That projection is balanced by concerns over global trade policy that could weaken demand as well as China’s commitment to enforcing environmental regulations. These factors, combined with currency instability and a slowing global economic growth, all pose risks to steel demand.
All considered, steel prices at the beginning of 2019 are relatively low when compared to 2018. We expect that price to gradually rise as trade tensions ease, global and U.S. demand continues its resilience, and China’s recent surge in production tails off.