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On October 14, the World Steel Association (hereinafter referred to as the World Steel Association) released the forecast results of short-term steel demand from 2021 to 2022. The World Steel Association predicts that after the global steel demand increased by 0.1% in 2020, it will continue to grow by 4.5% in 2021, reaching 1,855.4 million tons. In 2022, global steel demand will continue to grow by 2.2%, reaching 1.8964 billion tons. The World Steel Association believes that with the acceleration of global vaccination work, the spread of new crown virus variants will no longer cause chaos like the previous waves of new crown pneumonia.
China’s steel demand negative growth trend
will continue until next year
The World Steel Association stated that from 2020 to early 2021, China’s economy will continue its strong recovery. However, since June this year, China’s economic development has begun to slow down. Since July, the development of China’s steel industry has shown obvious signs of deceleration. Steel demand fell by 13.3% in July and 18.3% in August. The slowdown in the development of the steel industry is partly due to severe weather and repeated wavelet new crown pneumonia outbreaks in summer. However, the most important reasons include the slowdown in the development of the construction industry and government restrictions on steel production. The decline in the real estate industry’s activity is due to the Chinese government’s policy of strictly controlling financing for real estate developers launched in 2020. At the same time, China’s infrastructure investment will not increase in 2021, and the recovery of the global manufacturing industry will also affect the development of its export trade activities.
The World Steel Association stated that due to the continued deceleration of the real estate industry in 2021, China’s steel demand will experience negative growth for the remainder of 2021. Therefore, although China’s apparent steel consumption increased by 2.7% from January to August, overall steel demand in 2021 is expected to fall by 1.0%. The World Steel Association believes that according to the Chinese government’s economic rebalancing and environmental protection policy positioning, it is expected that steel demand will hardly grow positively in 2022, and some replenishment of inventories may support its apparent steel consumption.
Steel demand in advanced economies
Expected growth of 4.3% in 2022
In 2021, due to the tougher lockdown measures adopted by developed economies, the impact of repeated waves of the new crown pneumonia epidemic on their economic activities has weakened. However, the lagging development of the service industry is weakening its economic recovery. In 2022, with the continuous release of suppressed demand and the enhancement of corporate and consumer confidence, the momentum of recovery will be even stronger. The steel demand in developed economies is expected to increase by 12.2% in 2021 after a 12.7% drop in 2020, and is expected to continue to grow by 4.3% in 2022, reaching the level before the epidemic.
In the United States, driven by the release of suppressed demand and strong response policies, the US economy will continue to recover steadily, and the actual GDP level has exceeded the highest level in the second quarter of 2021. Although steel demand was once stimulated by the strong recovery of the automobile manufacturing and durable goods industry, the shortage of some parts is affecting the recovery of its steel demand. With the end of the period of rapid development of the US housing industry and the weakness of the non-residential construction industry, the growth momentum of the US construction industry has gradually weakened. The recovery of oil prices is supporting the recovery of investment in the US energy industry. The World Steel Association stated that if US President Biden’s infrastructure plan passes a congressional resolution, the upside potential of steel demand will become greater, but its actual effect will not be apparent until the end of 2022.
Despite the repeated waves of the new crown pneumonia epidemic in the EU, all steel industries have shown a positive recovery trend. With the recovery of the EU steel industry, the recovery of steel demand starting in the second half of 2020 is gradually accelerating. The recovery of steel demand in Germany is strongly supported by the active export trade. The active export trade has made the country’s manufacturing industry outstanding. However, due to the disruption of the supply chain, especially the automobile manufacturing industry, the recovery momentum of the country’s steel demand has weakened. In 2022, due to the backlog of manufacturing orders and the construction industry maintaining a relatively high growth rate, the country’s steel demand recovery will benefit from this. Among the EU countries, Italy has suffered the most severe impact from the new crown pneumonia epidemic. The country is currently recovering faster than other EU countries, and the construction industry is recovering strongly. Several steel-using industries, including the country’s construction and household appliances industry, are expected to return to pre-epidemic levels by the end of 2021.
The World Steel Association stated that in the developed regions of Asia, due to the slowdown in vaccination in 2021, the situation of the new crown pneumonia epidemic has deteriorated, but the demand for steel has not interrupted the recovery process. Under the strong promotion of active global trade activities and the government’s increase in infrastructure investment, Related forecasts have been adjusted upwards. In Japan, with the growth of export volume, investment volume and consumption volume, steel demand is gradually recovering. The Japanese manufacturing industry, especially the automobile manufacturing and machinery manufacturing industries, is leading this recovery. At the same time, the country’s civil construction industry continues to support the growth of steel demand, but the development of the private construction industry is still suppressed. The World Steel Association predicts that, supported by the recovery of consumption and investment, the demand for steel in all steel industries in Japan will see a positive growth in 2022. Supported by improved export trade and increased investment in manufacturing facilities, South Korea expects steel demand to return to the level of 2019 in 2021. In addition, the South Korean construction industry is supported by the public civil engineering plan and the recovery of the housing construction industry, and the demand for steel is expected to show a positive growth trend from 2021 to 2022. In 2021, South Korea’s shipbuilding orders soared, which will promote the growth of steel demand in the next few years.