Steel market focus: five top market trends of 2024

10th January 2024

MEPS International has identified five top trends that will be central to steel prices and the wider market’s direction in 2024.

Steel buyers eager to identify key market forces after returning from their Christmas and New Year holidays this week can gain insight into five-year forecasts with the recently published Steel Price Outlook report.

MEPS’s series of monthly steel market Reviews, meanwhile, continue to provide steel price data indices and market commentaries from key steelmaking countries across the globe via a flexible and cost-effective subscription.

To mark the start of 2024, MEPS researchers identified five market trends and influences that are likely to play a key role in shaping steel supply, demand and prices in the year ahead. They are:

Chinese economy

The recovery of China’s struggling property sector and the success of the Chinese government’s stimulus measures will play a key role in the country’s level of domestic steel demand. High demand in China will raise the price of steel products globally, along with raw materials such as iron ore and coking coal.

Middle East conflict

Steel suppliers in Turkey and Russia – Israel’s main sources of steel imports – are not alone in feeling the effects of unrest on the sector. While the risk of rising oil prices has so far proved unfounded, attacks on ships destined for the Suez Canal are increasing transport prices.

Increased trade defence measures

United States Section 232 import tariffs, the EU CBAM and the so-called low-emission ‘Steel Club’ planned by the EU and US are among the measures placing trade restrictions on steel imports. As the threat of tariffs from major steel consuming markets increases, as does the likelihood of retaliatory legislation.

Consolidation of European steelmaking

Steel producers are looking to align capacity to demand after a slowdown in the eurozone economy in 2023. Efforts are also being made to meet the financial demands of the transition to carbon net zero. Steelmakers will play a key role in the European Union’s Fit for 55 plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030.

Market-stimulating interest rate cuts

The global steel sector is monitoring inflation as a key indicator of economic sentiment. Most market participants believe reduced inflation will trigger interest cuts that will boost steel demand. The realisation of any tangible market uplift as a result of this shift is likely to extend beyond the end of 2024, however.

Commenting on 2024’s market trends, MEPS International head of pricing, Kaye Ayub, said: “After a difficult 2023, the global steel market will be challenging once again this year. End-user demand in the first half is expected to stay weak but there is more optimism for the second half.

"MEPS takes a whole market view and accounts for a multitude of socio-political and economic factors in formulating its steel price data, forecasts and monthly market commentaries. Nevertheless, steelmakers’ cost pressures will underpin steel price movements in the next twelve months."

For more information on how to access a range of steel prices, indices, market commentary and insight, visit the MEPS International website.

To learn more about the products and packages that might suit your business, contact the MEPS customer service team by telephone on +44 114 275 0570 or send a message online.  

Steel Price Outlook


Steel Price Outlook

MEPS Steel Price Outlook is a detailed 5-year steel price forecast with data focusing on Europe, North America and Asia.

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