North American steel market trends
US steel product consumption increased by 6.6% to 97 million tonnes in 2017, up from 91 million tonnes in 2016. The demand improved driven by stronger rail market as a result of the end of de-stocking cycle of Class I railroads, and improved by 2.4% for flat products and by 89% for tubular products, due to an uptick in oil prices and recovered drilling activity. Large-diameter pipe (LDP) market fundamentals were relatively strong during the reporting period and demand was stable at 1.0 million tonnes.
Finished steel product imports, which significantly influenced the US steel industry in 2015-2016, increased by 14% year-on-year to 26 million tonnes in 2017 due to improvements in the domestic demand.
US steel price premiums to Europe and Asia were compressed during 2017, albeit the trend was also positive. Prices increased by 23% to US$740 per tonne for flat products, by 11% to US$651per tonne for rebar, and by 39% to US$1,224 per tonne for OCTG.