MEPS Forecast North America

Steel Price Forecasts by MEPS Give Clear Indicators for Future Trends

The global steel market appears to be returning to near normal levels of pricing. 2018 was a turbulent year for steel selling figures in all parts of the world but prices, in 2019, are expected to remain below the peak values recorded last year.

Rapid steel price rises took place in North America during the first half of 2018. These were followed by substantial price reductions in the second half of the year. Similar, but less dramatic decreases in steel selling values took place in the European Union during the July/December period.

In mid-year 2018, MEPS predicted prices reductions for flat products in both the EU and North American markets. These proved to be substantially correct for the benchmark hot rolled coil product form.

Charts showing MEPS’ forecasts prepared in June 2018, together with actual published data, over the following six-month period, are set out below. It is clear that the MEPS predictions for future prices were broadly in line with actual values in both regions researched. The data was contained in the company’s regular monthly reports –International Steel Review and European Steel Review.

For long term steel price predictions, MEPS publishes regional steel price forecasts.

For further details of the latest steel product price forecasts please follow the links below.

Steel Price Forecasts to 2023 (MEPS Long Term Reports)

12 Month Forecasts with 5 Years Steel Price History (Updated Monthly)

MEPS Forecasts EU
MEPS EU Average Hot Rolled Coil (€/tonne)
Actual v Forecast for the period July 2018 to December 2018
MEPS Forecast North America
MEPS North America Average Hot Rolled Coil (US$/tonne)
Actual v Forecast for the period July 2018 to December 2018

Source: MEPS International Ltd

Steel Price Forecasts to 2023

MEPS Steel Price Forecasts to 2023

The MEPS Global average all products composite steel price increased, in 2018, by 16 percent, year-on-year. Firm economic conditions and steel demand growth supported the upturn in selling figures.

Nonetheless, the cyclical recovery in the global steel market appears to be reaching its zenith, after hitting its low point in late 2015 / early 2016. Indicators suggest that the economic upturn, worldwide, is losing momentum. Escalating trade tensions weigh heavily on the near-term outlook. Protectionist measures have the potential to disrupt global supply chains, inhibit end-user demand for steel-containing goods and adversely affect business confidence and investment.

Inflationary Effects Anticipated

Slowing GDP growth rates, in the coming years, are dampening the prospects for further gains in selling figures. Nevertheless, a number of factors are expected to underpin steel prices, in the long term. Despite limited upside potential for iron ore and coking coal benchmark values, the premium for high-grade raw materials should remain elevated. Furthermore, MEPS anticipates inflationary effects from other forms of mill input expenditure, such as those for energy, electrodes, refractories and ferro-alloys.

EU & Asia

Consolidation in the European steel industry, along with trade protection measures on finished steel products, should support prices in that region, in the coming years. Meanwhile, the Chinese government’s wide-ranging plans, to cut excess steelmaking capacity and curb pollution, are expected to restrict expansion in steel output, in the long term. This should prevent the re-emergence of substantial oversupply in Asia.

North America

The longevity of the United States’ Section 232 measures is uncertain. Many market observers believe that the import tariffs will be applied for a significant period of time. The tariffs are expected to support local selling figures at high levels, whilst they remain in effect. Nonetheless, following the rapid price gains, in 2018, market participants are expected to adapt to the new environment and selling figures are predicted to normalise, in the long term.

Source: MEPS International Ltd

Purchase: MEPS Steel Price Forecasts to 2023

EAF Quantum electric arc furnace

Chengdu Changfeng orders EAF Quantum electric arc furnace and ladle furnace from Primetals Technologies

Chinese steel producer Chengdu Changfeng Steel Group Co., Ltd. (Chengdu Changfeng) placed an order with Primetals Technologies to supply an EAF Quantum electric arc furnace and a ladle furnace for its plant in Dujiayan city, Sichuan Province. This marks the 9th EAF Quantum for China. The EAF Quantum furnace is designed to handle scrap steel of vary varied composition and quality. The electrical energy requirement of the electric arc furnace is extremely low because the scrap is preheated. This reduces both the operating costs and the CO2 emissions. The twin ladle furnace sets the desired steel grades and the correct casting temperature. The new furnaces are scheduled to be commissioned in early 2020.

Chengdu Changfeng is a medium-sized state-owned enterprise based in Chengdu, Sichuan Province. The company operates three steel branches, one oxygen production company, and one mechanical manufacturing and processing company. For the new EAF Quantum electric arc furnace and the twin ladle furnace, Primetals Technologies will supply the complete mechanical and electrical process equipment and the automation technology. This includes the automated scrap yard management, the automated charging process, automation of the oxygen injection and sand refilling, as well as the Level 2 automation which makes the plant ready for Industry 4.0.

The EAF Quantum developed by Primetals Technologies combines proven elements of shaft furnace technology with an innovative scrap charging process, an efficient preheating system, a new tilting concept for the lower shell, and an optimized tapping system. This all adds up to very short melting cycles. The electricity consumption is considerably lower than that of a conventional electric arc furnace. Together with the lower consumption of electrodes and oxygen, this gives an overall advantage in the specific conversion cost of around 20 percent. In comparison to conventional electric arc furnaces, total CO2 emissions can also be reduced by up to 30 percent per metric ton of crude steel. An integrated dedusting system with modern automatic off gas control fulfills all environmental requirements.

Source: Primetals Technologies

Ultra thin hot rolled strip

World record: Ultra-thin hot rolled strip with a thickness of 0.6 millimeters produced on Arvedi ESP line supplied by Primetals Technologies

  • In a world first, a casting-rolling line has achieved a thickness of just 0.6 millimeters
  • Thin hot strip now covers more than 80 percent of cold-rolled thicknesses
  • Extended product range, especially for cold strip substitutes

In October 2018, an Arvedi ESP (Endless Strip Production) line installed in a plant belonging to the Chinese steel producer Rizhao Steel Group Co., Ltd (Rizhao) produced ultra-thin hot rolled strip with a thickness of just 0.6 millimeters for the very first time. Hot rolled strip as thin as this had never before been achieved anywhere in the world. This thin strip can cover more than 80 percent of regular commercial cold-rolled thicknesses. This widens Rizhao’s range of products, especially for cold strip substitutes. After the line entered service in April, success was achieved just six months later.

Following on from 10 years of continued development of the endless concept, this latest production record was achieved during a test in which eight coils were produced with strip thicknesses of less than 0.8 millimeters. This production sequence involved first progressively reducing the strip thickness to 0.75, 0.7 and finally 0.6 millimeters, before continuing the sequence with increasing thicknesses. ESP mills are guaranteed to produce strip thicknesses of 0.8 millimeters, which are used industrially and traded on the market for direct applications. Whereas a strip thickness of 0.8 millimeters covers around 50 percent of cold-rolled thicknesses, a strip thickness of 0.6 millimeters can cover more than 80 percent of cold-rolled thicknesses. Conventional hot strip production has a lower thickness limit of 1.8 millimeters, or 1.2 millimeters for special processes.

This success was made possible by the familiar properties of the ESP process, such as an extremely high process stability accompanied by constant speeds and temperatures. At the same time, advances were made in technologies that, in their original form, had only been used in cold rolling mills for high-quality products, the process being controlled by “ultra-thin rolling technology” based on the control concepts applied in cold rolling technology.

The Arvedi ESP system produces hot strip directly from liquid steel in a continuous, uninterrupted production process in a linked casting and rolling mill. Mills of this type have an energy consumption and associated costs up to 45 percent lower than those of conventional mills with separate casting and rolling processes. They also have substantially reduced CO2 emissions. Furthermore, the dimensions of these mills, with a length of only 155 meters, are considerably more compact than those of conventional casting and rolling mills. The casting and rolling line is controlled by standardized, integrated basic (level 1) and process (level 2) automation, which ensures finely coordinated interaction of the casting and rolling processes.

Rizhao Steel Co., Ltd. (Rizhao Steel) is a company in the Rizhao Steel Holding Group with headquarters 30 kilometers from Rizhao Harbor in the south of Shandong Province. The company has an annual production capacity of around 15 million metric tons of crude steel. The product portfolio of Rizhao Steel covers hot-rolled coils, wire, rods and small I-beams, which are primarily sold to Chinese customers.

Arvedi ESP mill no. 4 is one of five casting and rolling mills that Rizhao ordered from Primetals Technologies. It is designed for an annual production of 1.7 million metric tons of high-quality, ultra-thin hot strip, in widths ranging from 900 to 1,300 millimeters. The maximum casting speed is seven meters per minute, and the coil weight 28 metric tons.

Source: Primetals Technologies

Finishing mill motor room at California Steel in Fontana

California Steel Awards Two Upgrade Projects to Primetals Technologies

  • 86″ Hot Strip Mill main drives and motors upgrade to enable continuous rolling and expand product mix
  • Upgrade of Continuous Galvanizing Line drives and automation system to improve utilization
  • Mid-2020, mid-2022 start-ups expected

To expand its product mix and improve utilization, California Steel Industries (CSI), has contracted with Primetals Technologies for two electrical and automation projects for its 86″ Hot Strip Mill and #2 Continuous Galvanizing Line in Fontana, California, USA. The Continuous Galvanizing Line upgrade is scheduled for a mid-2020 completion, and the 86″ Hot Strip Mill project is expected to be complete by mid-2022.

Following an earlier Level 1 and Level 2 upgrade, the scope of the 86″ Hot Strip Mill project includes a detailed migration plan for new motors, drives and power distribution for six finishing mill stands. Primetals Technologies is supplying medium voltage motors, medium voltage drives, transformers and switchgear, as well as engineering and commissioning. When completed, the upgraded mill will enable CSI to expand its product mix, minimize delays and improve mill utilization.

The electrical and automation upgrade of CSI’s #2 Continuous Galvanizing Line will be implemented in multiple phases. It will improve mill utilization by replacing equipment nearing obsolescence, including AC and DC drives, Level 1 automation, Level 2 automation and HMI. The project scope also includes engineering and commissioning.

California Steel Industries, Inc. began operations in 1984 and is the leading producer of flat rolled steel in the Western United States, producing the widest range of flat rolled steel products in the region. The plant in Fontana, California, has the capacity to produce more than two million tons of hot rolled, pickled and oiled, galvanized, and cold rolled sheet, and electric resistance welded pipe steel.

Finishing mill motor room at California Steel in Fontana, California (Photo courtesy CSI).

Primetals Technologies, Limited headquartered in London, United Kingdom is a worldwide leading engineering, plant-building and lifecycle services partner for the metals industry. The company offers a complete technology, product and service portfolio that includes integrated electrics, automation and environmental solutions. This covers every step of the iron and steel production chain, extending from the raw materials to the finished product – in addition to the latest rolling solutions for the nonferrous metals sector. Primetals Technologies is a joint venture of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (MHI) and Siemens. Mitsubishi-Hitachi Metals Machinery (MHMM) – an MHI consolidated group company with equity participation by Hitachi, Ltd. and the IHI Corporation – holds a 51% stake and Siemens a 49% stake in the joint venture. The company employs around 7,000 employees worldwide. Further information is available on the Internet at

Nucor to Build State-of-the-Art Plate Mill

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Jan. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ — Nucor Corporation (NYSE: NUE) today announced plans to build a state-of-the-art plate mill in the U.S. Midwest. Nucor’s Board of Directors has approved an investment of $1.35 billion to build the mill, which is expected to be fully operational in 2022 and will be capable of producing 1.2 million tons per year of steel plate products. The project is expected to create approximately 400 full-time jobs. 

“This investment is consistent with our drive to continue delivering sustainable, profitable growth and superior returns for shareholders,” said John Ferriola, Chairman, CEO & President of Nucor. “Together with the significant share repurchases completed in 2018, the Board’s decision to fund this high-return opportunity demonstrates our commitment to balanced capital allocation. We have a strong foundation to build upon as we advance our goal of leading in every market in which we compete.”

Leon Topalian, Executive Vice President of Beam and Plate products, said, “By building this state-of-the-art plate mill in the Midwest – the largest plate-consuming area in the United States – we will enhance our ability to serve our customers in the region while also furthering our goal of meeting all the steel needs of our customers around the country. We expect to select a site for the new mill early this year.  Our team is poised and ready to take the next step in advancing our position in steel plate products.” 

The new plate mill will produce cut-to-length, coiled, heat-treated, and discrete plate ranging from 60 to 160 inches wide, and in gauges from 3/16 of an inch to 14 inches in thickness; enabling Nucor to supply plate products that the Company does not currently offer. Nucor currently operates plate mills in North Carolina, Alabama and Texas.

“This administration is taking the decisive and meaningful actions that American manufacturers need to compete on a level playing field,” Ferriola said. “Tax reform, continued improvements to our regulatory approach and strong trade enforcement are giving businesses like ours the confidence to make long-term capital investments here in the U.S. that create jobs and ensure our success for decades to come.”

About Nucor
Nucor and its affiliates are manufacturers of steel and steel products, with operating facilities primarily in the U.S. and Canada. Products produced include: carbon and alloy steel — in bars, beams, sheet and plate; hollow structural section tubing; electrical conduit; steel piling; steel joists and joist girders; steel deck; fabricated concrete reinforcing steel; cold finished steel; steel fasteners; metal building systems; steel grating; and wire and wire mesh. Nucor, through The David J. Joseph Company, also brokers ferrous and nonferrous metals, pig iron and hot briquetted iron / direct reduced iron; supplies ferro-alloys; and processes ferrous and nonferrous scrap. Nucor is North America’s largest recycler.

Source: Nucor Corporation