Global Flat Steel Market: Snapshot
The rapid increase in infrastructural development in Asia Pacific due to rapid urbanization and industrialization is working in favor of the global flat steel market. The construction industry in countries such as India, China, and South Korea have registered phenomenal growth over the past few years. Since flat-rolled products are extensively used in the construction of cladding, internal walls, and purlins, the expansion of the construction sector is translating into the greater uptake of flat steel. Moreover, the growing investments in the infrastructure sector and increasing stringency on iron-ore mining several countries are expected to augment the market over the coming years.
Flat steel finds applications across various end-use verticals, including automobile and transportation, building and infrastructure, packaging, consumer goods, and defense. There will be a strong demand for flat steel in building and infrastructure worldwide. It is used in the construction of railway tracks, bridges, roads, factories, buildings, and other engineering structures. The rising awareness regarding the merits of flat steel such as high durability, strength, and design flexibility and low construction and maintenance cost is driving its adoption across various verticals.
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The global flat steel market is dominated by a handful of international players. However, the emergence of new suppliers is resulting in the decline in their shares as well as the intensification of competition. Rapid technological advancements and changing consumer preferences are prompting market players to look for new applications of flat steel.
Flat steel is steel manufactured in a sheet form by melting and rolling. It can be produced in different formats such as plates and strips. The basic method of producing flat steel is passing rectangular-shaped steel through flat rollers. Rollers are rotated in opposite directions and steel is fed through them. The produced steel does not have grooved or cut faces but has flat faces coated with zinc to inhibit corrosion. Heavy plates, hot-rolled coils, slabs, and coated steel are some of the flat steel products. However, heavy plates are produced using a press and the process is known as forming, rather than rolling. Rollers are often heated and lubricated to facilitate the passage of metal from the work piece. Based on the type, the market for flat steel can be segmented into sheets, strips, and plates. Based on the end-use, the market for flat steel can be segregated into mechanical equipment, building & construction, automotive, and packaging.
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The market for flat steel is anticipated to expand at a rapid pace during the forecast period, owing to growth of automotive and construction sectors. Increasing demand for flat steel from automotive and building & construction sectors is likely to fuel the market in the next few years. Building & construction held a significant share of the market in 2015. Flat steel offers design flexibility, durability, and strength to the building. It also lowers the maintenance cost of a building in the long term. Usage of flat steel in building and construction activities lowers the cost of construction. Flat steel not only reduces the overall weight but also offers fuel efficiency and strength to the vehicle. Increase in the production of automobiles is estimated to augment the market for flat steel during the forecast period.
The sheet segment of the flat steel market accounted for a key market share in 2015 and is projected to expand during the forecast period, owing to extensive use of sheets in refrigerators, steel furniture, doors, steel drums, and automobiles. The plates segment is projected to expand at a prominent rate owing to growth of the building & construction sector wherein flat steel plates are used. Fluctuating prices of raw materials required for the production of flat steel can hinder the growth of the market. Moreover, increasing demand for bio-based products and changes in technologies are likely to hamper the flat steel market.
Asia Pacific held a significant share of the flat steel market in 2015, both in terms of volume and revenue. It is followed by North America, Europe, and Rest of the World. Asia Pacific is a rapid expanding market for flat steel, owing to the availability of raw materials, growth of consumer and working population, and rapid technological advancements in the region. The region is anticipated to continue its leading position in the global flat steel market in the next few years, owing to its growing automotive industry. In addition, growth of the building & construction industry in Asia Pacific in terms of housing, corporate, and other projects is projected to increase the demand for flat steel in the region. The flat steel market in North America is expected to expand at a rapid pace, owing to the ascending automotive industry in the region. The market in Latin America is estimated to witness high growth, owing to emerging manufacturing industry in the region. The market for flat steel in Middle East & Africa is anticipated to expand at a significant rate, due to its large consumer base.
Key players operating in the global flat steel market include Essar Steel., Hyundai Steel Co., Ltd., Tata Steel, and United States Steel.