Steel is in short supply all over the world.
During the Coronavirus pandemic, steel market participants implemented reduction plans. Many distributors were selling old stock to improve cash flow and manufacturers were reducing existing inventories.
The easing of lockdown restrictions in most countries has resulted in demand bouncing back, leading to shortages in the market for many steel products.
Steel output last year totalled 1.86 billion tonnes, down from 1.88 billion tonnes in 2019. China’s steel production has remained strong compared with the rest of the world. China’s output rose from 1.0 billion tonnes in 2019 to 1.05 billion tonnes in 2020. India and Japan both saw their output decline in 2020. India’s fell by 10.6%, while Japan’s dropped by 16.2%.
The UK is also seeing the knock-on effect of the global steel shortages with changing market conditions, price increases and delayed delivery times, affecting the production of PVCU windows.
In January 2021 steel suppliers reported demand was higher than supply, for the first time in many years. Market prices have escalated significantly with further increases expected. The estimated price rises from Q3 2020 to Q2 2021 could be between £250 to £300 per tonne.
For now, it seems the global steel shortage continues to be a problem and may carry on well into 2021.