According to the World Steel Association, global crude steel production for the first five months of 2021 amounted to 838 (731) million tonnes, up 14.6% compared to the same period in 2020. Chinese steel production increased by just under 14%. Steel production increased in North America by 11% and in the EU-27 by 15%.
In North America, demand for heavy plate was strong in most customer segments during the second quarter. Inventory levels are generally still low, including at distributors.
In Europe, demand was also strong during the second quarter. The shortage of semiconductors somewhat muted demand from the vehicle industry. Imports into Europe increased somewhat during the quarter, but a shortage of steel still prevails on the market.
Global demand for high-strength steel was strong during the quarter. In principle, markets in all geographies are showing good demand, which is exceeding supply.
In North America, the sharp increase in market prices for heavy plate continued during the second quarter. In Europe, market prices for strip and heavy plate rose sharply during the second quarter. In China, prices for strip and heavy plate rose during the second quarter, albeit to a lesser extent than in North America and Europe.
Demand for steel during the third quarter of 2021 is estimated to be strong, driven both by underlying demand and by customer restocking. Albeit a seasonal slowdown, especially in Europe, is expected. Global demand for high-strength steel is expected to be very strong during the third quarter in more or less all geographical markets.
SSAB Special Steels’ shipments are expected to remain at a high level, considering the seasonality during the third quarter, albeit significantly lower than the record high level seen in the second quarter of 2021, primarily because of the planned annual maintenance outage in Oxelösund during the quarter. Also SSAB Europe's shipments are expected to be significantly lower during the third quarter than in the second quarter, due to planned annual maintenance outages and a seasonal slowdown. SSAB Americas’ shipments are expected to be stable during the third quarter compared with the second quarter of 2021.
Prices realized by SSAB Americas and SSAB Europe are expected to be significantly higher on average than in the second quarter of 2021. For SSAB Special Steels, prices are expected to be higher in the third quarter than in the second quarter of 2021. Improved prices will be partly counteracted by higher costs of raw materials, primarily iron ore, in the third quarter.
|Q3 2021 vs. Q2 2021|
|SSAB Special Steel||Significantly lower ||Higher|
|SSAB Europe||Significantly lower||Significantly higher|
|SSAB Americas||Stable||Significantly higher|