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Flat steel numbers worse for the biggest producers (MT, ANGGY)

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New data from the World Steel Association show that global crude steel production is up 6% year-on-year, but on a month-on-month basis is still flat at best. Global steel production is now 5% lower than the peak production in May 2011 of 130 million tons.

World steel capacity utilization came in at 76.5% in October, which is 2.6% lower than September and 1.1% higher than in October 2010. Capacity utilization has now reached the lowest point this year.

Numbers show that Chinese steel production for 2011 also peaked in May at 60.2 million tons. October figures showed steel production down 4% from September to 54.7 million tons. Utilization has been steady most of the year between 94%-96%, but in September fell to 91% and in October slid further to 87.5%.

On the demand side, the World Steel Association forecast global demand for finished steel to grow 6.5% this year. Chinese demand is forecast to rise 7.5%.

For 2012, the WSA predicts global steel demand to grow by 5.4% which is neutral at best for the biggest producers like ArcelorMittal ADR ( MT , quote ) and China's Angang Steel ADR ( ANGGY , quote ).

Scale is a two-edged sword. Names like MT are so big that it takes a lot of upside to move the needle on their stocks. Anything less than that means the stocks drift -- at best -- and in the meantime, more nimble competitors can steal share.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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