What’s ahead with steel pricing

By |  August 3, 2022

“There is not a sense that demand is easing from contractors who use our material,” he says. “This is a level that keeps their rolling mills busy but still allows enough slack time to enable the maintenance and servicing of equipment.”

Construction, of course, is not the only sector using steel. Others are automobiles, appliances and infrastructure. Infrastructure is expected to exert rapidly increasing demand for steel as a result of the $1.2 trillion Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act.

Perhaps the most dramatic future shift in the steel market is the world’s rapidly accelerating clean energy initiative.

“All of the pathways to get to a more sustainable economy are going to require steel,” Gill says. “It will constitute the panel frames and support structures required for solar power, and the towers needed for wind.”

Electric vehicles will also need steel. The newer varieties of lightweight steel that have long allowed automakers to meet mileage targets are expected to play a role in producing the next generation of automobiles and trucks.

The battery packs that are major components of electric vehicles will also need strong supporting steel compartments.

“Further down the road, steel will be needed for the tanks and pipelines necessary for a hydrogen economy and carbon capture, utilization and storage,” Gill says.

In the meantime, the industry is addressing the problem of getting product to buyers in a timely manner.

“Lead times had become elongated in the second half of 2020 and later, as the economy was bursting out of the COVID recession,” Gill says. “Since then, the market has digested the situation, and it’s getting easier to get steel more quickly.”

Phillip M. Perry is an award-winning journalist who is published widely in the fields of business management, workplace psychology and employment law.

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