Insight Magazine: Global steel looks east

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Editors note from Emma Slawinski

The main effects of the coronavirus pandemic for the commodity complex have been sudden demand destruction, upheaval in supply chains and uncertainty about the timespan required for recovery.

Against this background, S&P Global Platts is celebrating effective leadership, excellence in service and innovation in the metals industry with its eighth annual Global Metals Awards, recognizing that it is precisely in such challenging times that these qualities are most needed.

Taken as a single category, the metals sector has been hit like every other. Sales of consumer goods were slashed for months, and major outlets for metal products such as autos and construction also ground to a halt in many parts of the world.

But in contrast to the oil industry, for example, the narrative for metals during the crisis has been much more varied. Steel and aluminum demand has been hit hard by long shutdowns in autos, but as Sarah Baltic writes, a bright spot in the US has been demand for can sheet, as manufacturers have benefited from higher consumption of canned drinks at home.

In Europe, the pandemic has painted a fairly bleak picture for steelmaking as lockdowns have piled additional pressure on an industry already suffering from overcapacity and struggling to compete with low-priced imports.

However, iron ore has proved resilient this year in terms of price. Julien Hall and Fiona Boal examine the financialization of iron ore and what this new segment of market participants means for physical trade.

Turning to oil markets, Meghan Gordon surveys the recent efforts by President Donald Trump’s administration to influence global prices and bolster producers in the US in her policy column from Washington. Robert Perkins uses S&P Global Platts Analytics forecasts to visualize the impact of the pandemic on demand across countries and oil product segments .

We survey the progress in Brazil’s gas market liberalization and what it means for midstream competition, offshore gas production and LNG imports.This issue of Insight incorporates our recent special report, Women in Metals and Mining, featuring interviews with 13 inspirational women who have built successful careers in the sectors. They share personal stories and views on gender diversity, and lift the lid on their most challenging and meaningful experiences in the industry.

Finally, we announce this year’s Global Metals Award winners, where achievements from individual leadership, to innovative service provision and corporate social responsibility are recognized, along with standout performances in specific metals categories.

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