Steelonthenet blog

Steel industry comment and analysis

Latest world steel news

For latest world steel news, visit Annual subscriptions start at just $120 / year and cover carbon steel news and / or specialty steel news (engineering steel, stainless steel and tool steel news).


World steel prices 2018

There is a good relationship between global capacity utilisation and steel price levels. The chart below describes this.

steel industry capacity utilisation versus steel price level

According to the World Steel Association, global capacity utilisation has increased from 69.4% in December 2017 to 76.9% in April 2018. For report, visit

Therefore, our expectation is that steel prices should be increasing soon – with the world hot rolled coil and rebar price attaining a price level some $150/tonne better than last December.

To track global steel prices, visit our world steel prices page.

Steel industry suppliers – pig iron

Our analysts have put together a steel industry suppliers page. This identifies steel associations, consultants, distributors, electrode suppliers, equipment supply firms, ferroalloy suppliers, pig iron suppliers etc.

Under pig iron suppliers, we list the following firms.





Sesa Goa:



For full list of several hundred firms, visit or to see a map of the various locations worldwide see


UK Government report – opportunities in UK Steel

An excellent report published end-2017 by the UK Government’s Department of Business Energy and Industrial Strategy identified a number of different market opportunities for the UK steel sector. For full report, see

Some months on, has there been any progress at all with the recommendations made? Or will this BEIS report (like the Action Plans issued by the European Commission in recent years) be yet another adornment on some government shelf? 

If site visitor are aware of any progress made, please let us know.

Dr Andrzej M Kotas, CEO,



Steel industry expert witness service

Metals Consulting International – the parent of – has just launched a new steel industry expert witness support service. offers industry clients professional technical and commercial expert support relating to iron and steel sector disputes. This experience includes all areas of steel production, including raw material preparation, ironmaking, liquid steelmaking, casting and rolling. Our capabilities also cover commercial disputes and arbitrations concerning pricing, delivery terms, transport, contract performance and product valuation for insurance or compensation purposes. Our experts also have a good understanding of the obligations that are normally expected of the expert witness role.

For further information please visit our new website at or call +44 775 149 0885.

Steel industry discussion board

The team have just launched a FREE iron and steel industry discussion board. Site visitors can post company news and event information, classified ads, job search, technical queries and other messages relating to steel, at their convenience.

Their is no charge for this service. All that is required is a quick and simple user registration.

Please visit us to try out the new steel message board which may be found at

Website Administrator


Prospects for the Steel Industry in the USA – ISSB perspective

Note – the passage below was written by the steel team at ISSB (Iron & Steel Statistics Bureau, UK) in January 2017.

It is fair to say that the past year has been one of changing fortunes for the global steel industry in general and for the US steel industry in particular. Although US demand for steel in the first half of the year was fairly subdued, a strong raft of anti-dumping legislation implemented in the latter part of 2015 meant domestic steelmakers enjoyed added protection. Crude steel production in the first half of 2016 was stable year on year compared with import levels which were 28% lower.
The subsequent increase in domestic steel prices once again led buyers to search out value from overseas sources resulting in Q3 import levels being substantially higher, although still 2% below Q3 the previous year, and domestic production falling by 4%. This trend continued into October with production down nearly 5% year on year but early indications show that the general election result may have helped to halt this decline.
The surprise election of Donald Trump could have a profound effect on the way that the US trades with the rest of the world. Trump appears to favour a more aggressive trade policy, regularly citing job losses as a result of imports from other countries, especially China. As the US is already agile in its application of anti-dumping legislation when necessary, it seems likely that US policy going forward will be geared even further towards protecting domestic interests.
The recent high profile case of Ford cancelling its proposed Mexican production plant in favour of one in the US after continued criticism from Trump along with the president-elect already suggesting taxes will be imposed on imported vehicles suggest in the short term at least that US demand for steel looks set to improve and given Trump’s rhetoric, this growth is very likely to be supplied by domestic producers.
The long term effect of these protectionist policies is rather more uncertain but in November, the month of the election, US steel production increased by over 6% year on year, the first growth since May. Going forward, the Australian Department of Industry is now predicting US steel production to grow by 6% this year and a further 13% in 2018 compared to the pre-election forecasts of 3% and 7% respectively.
It is just over a week before president-elect Donald Trump takes up his position in the White House and whilst the next five years are very likely to herald a much more protectionist stance to international trade for the US, aiding domestic steel producers in the short term, the long term consequence of this on the global steel industry and steel prices in particular is much more difficult to assess. In the short term imports are likely to be at reduced levels, adding to the quantities of surplus steel on the international market with the commensurate downward pressure on prices. Longer term trade restrictions are unlikely to lead to long-term prosperity with innovation and competitiveness on the global market likely to suffer.
For further information on this topic (particularly trade volumes) please visit ISSB or for other perspectives visit our steel industry news and information portal.

World steel prices

The team has just updated their steel prices page. Average monthly world steel prices since January 2001 are now accessible online on their steel prices page and cover HRC, CRC, HDG, tinplate, organic coated sheet and steel rebar. The price data is fob export prices in US $ per metric tonne.

For further information visit


SBQ Steel News

For the latest engineering steel news – SBQ steel news – see our special steels newsfeed at SBQ steel news.

The steel industry opportunity in Iran

Iran has been one of the fastest growing steel producing countries in the world over recent years. Crude steel production in the country increased by 65% over the past ten years and at 16.1M tonnes, Iran has become the fourteenth largest producer globally with by far the greatest output in the Middle East. This growth has continued so far in 2016 with production up nearly 10% in the first ten months of the year.

Part of the reason for this rapid development of their steel industry is likely to be the relative isolation the country has found itself over the years due to economic sanctions, along with a ready supply of iron ore which has enabled them to become relatively self-sufficient. With sanctions lifting this year, demand for steel in the country is likely to grow considerably in the coming years.
This isolation and growth in the domestic industry means that Iran imports relatively low quantities of steel which reduced from 12.7 million tonnes in 2007 to just 3.1 million tonnes in 2013. Since then, imports have risen slightly to just over 4 million tonnes each year and have remained relatively stable, although in the first nine months of this year they have grown by more than 20%. In a story that is familiar in many parts of the world, much of this growth has been in “alloy” HRC, plate and CRC from China.

Shipments from China have grown by 47% to 578K tonnes so far this year with the country representing the second largest source of steel with only the UAE shipping more. In actual fact though, a closer inspection of the shipments from UAE reveals that the bulk of this tonnage is likely originating from somewhere else with the UAE acting as an intermediary. A significant proportion of the increase in imports from the country appears to be the “alloy” flat products that Chinese producers export in order to qualify for tax rebates so it seems reasonable to assume that much of the 29% growth seen in imports from the UAE also originate in China.

The vast majority of production in the country is destined for the domestic market, although Iran does seem to be starting to export more. At its lowest level in 2012, they were exporting just 260 thousand tonnes of steel but since then this has been on the increase. In 2015 exports hit 3.8 million tonnes and have since grown even more so far this year. In the first nine months of 2016 alone, the country has exported 4.3 million tonnes, more than the whole of 2015 and representing a year on year growth of 41%.

The majority of this growth has come from increased shipments of ingots and semis with larger quantities of ingots being shipped to other Middle East nations; a growth of slabs being exported to Morocco, Brazil, Thailand and Taiwan, and a rise of other semis going to Oman, Thailand and Taiwan.

The Iranian steel industry is at an interesting point in its development. Since economic sanctions were lifted at the start of this year, the country is becoming increasingly “open to business” which should offer opportunities for overseas steel producers to exploit a new and growing market. Over a five year period ending in 2020, Iran is seen to be one of the fastest growing steel sheet markets in the world. The country’s steel sheet consumption growth is forecast to be more than double the world average over 2015-2020. Due to the relative strength and low-cost nature of Iranian steel producers, however, it seems likely that much of any growth may be taken up by domestic production and the only country so far that has managed to exploit the opportunity here to any great degree is predictably China.

Indeed, as Iranian steel producers become more outward looking, they may represent a threat in overseas markets although to date they have only really been active in the semi-finished steel markets but with shipments of slab to Thailand growing considerably it seems they have picked up some of the business that was being supplied by SSI in the UK.


Source of article above: ISSB.

For further info on the steel sector in Iran visit ISSB or check out our Middle East steel news page.