Steel market outlook & forecasts for 2024 2025 prices. logo

Market Outlook - Forecasts - World Steel Prices

metal market outlook for steel prices

Year 2023+ Steel Price Projections

The note that follows considers near-term steel price forecasts - that is, the outlook for world steel prices in 2023 and beyond.

The price cycle - MCI view

A notable characteristic of world steel prices is that they are highly cyclical. As can be seen in the chart below, prices move from peak to trough every few years. Looking at pricing for typical steel products such as hot rolled coil (HRC) or reinforcing bar, the latest prominent peaks occurred in August 2011, April 2018 and September 2021; with price troughs occurring in May 2009, February 2016 and June 2020. Across these products, the average peak-to-peak or trough-to-trough time over the last 25 or so years works out at ~3-4 years. In our view, the next price peak can be expected around mid-2028 and the next pricing trough will occur in mid-2025.

history of steel prices
Note: Price data from ISSB. Figures are monthly world average export fob prices, in $ per metric tonne.

It is MCI's view that - at the time of writing (July 2023) - international steel prices appear to be declining, dropping from a September 2021 high. Other independent observations appear to agree with this view, as discussed below.

Near term steel prices - analyst view

Looking at the coming months, many analysts also consider that prices are currently on a falling trend.

  • Fastmarkets recently commented that steel prices were unlikely to rally in the near term because of expected increases in capacity. See Fastmarkets analyst views
  • According to Fitch, world prices of iron ore, coking coal and thermal coal will show continuing declines in the coming years. For more information, see The Fitch report.

Supply demand outlook

Another way to consider the pricing outlook is to consider future prospects for the global steel supply-demand balance. In this respect, it is noteworthy that:

  • The World Steel Association (worldsteel) consider that global steel demand in 2024 will grow by 1.7% over 2023 levels (from ~1822 million tonnes in 2023, to ~1854 million tonnes). This is equivalent to a 2024 increase in steel consumption of ~32 million tonnes [See Worldsteel, Short Range Outlook April 2023].
  • The OECD meanwhile [see OECD Developments in Steelmaking Capacity, 2023] reported that over the three year period 2023-2025, some 59.9 mt of gross capacity additions were currently underway; with a further 106 mt of capacity in the planning stage also likely to come on stream. This is equivalent to an increase in steel capacity of over ~55 million metric tonnes per year, a rate of increase that will easily surpass the anticipated rate of steel demand growth.

On this basis, we judge that year 2024 capacity utilisation is likely to fall below 2023 levels, leading to reductions in steel prices globally.

Market outlook and 2024 steel price forecasts

Taken together, MCI's assessment of the current level of steel prices in the context of the longer-term price cycle; with our assessment of expected changes to the steel supply demand balance in 2024; and our review of the near-term outlook for iron ore and coke prices – all point to a declining steel price as years 2023 and 2024 unfold. The MCI assessment therefore is that steel prices will gradually fall in H2 2023 and during year 2024, reaching a trough around mid-2025. After that point - especially as ETS allowances are fully withdrawn in Europe and as the cost impact of CBAM kicks in, steel prices are likely to resume their return to higher levels.

For projected monthly steel prices in H2 2023 and beyond, see our our steel price projections page.

Metals Consulting International Limited
8th July 2023

steel expert witness support


steelonthenet online store

Copyright © 2001 - 2023 All rights reserved.
To contact us about the steel market outlook please email