Global steel prices are forecast to remain at an elevated level during 2022 following on from what has been a period of high prices during the previous 12 months. Those involved in the purchasing of steel and steel products are becoming more pessimistic about the anticipated cost of steel during 2022, in particular the cost for steel coil products.  

The record high values reached in the summer of 2021 took many by surprise and it looks like this trend of unpredictably higher prices looks like it could be repeated during 2022.

The peak of the price cycles occurred at differing points in each global region. European steel purchasing costs reached their highest level in June 2021. Those in North America peaked in September, whilst Asian prices levelled off during the summer months.

The outlook for the start of 2022 has become more volatile again by another wave of Covid-19 sweeping across the globe. The ominous Omicron variant looks like it is slowing the recovery in the steel market and some buyers are concerned about a price collapse in the coming months.

European flat steel prices are forecast to increase in the first half of 2022 as a resumption of purchasing is anticipated and producers are under pressure to recoup their rising outlay on electricity and gas. North American prices are expected to continue to decline in the next few months as procurement activity weakens amid rising stock levels as distributors, service centres and domestic steelmakers are likely to offer discounts to boost sales.

Reductions in steel prices are predicted in the second half of 2022 across all regions with slower growth in flat product consumption as a result of the inflated cost of steel and other materials and inflationary pressure is likely to slow consumer spending.

The world flat products composite transaction value is forecast to average around US$1220 per tonne in 2022 – a rise of almost 60 percent.