The global flat carbon steel market was valued at US$ 391.46 Bn in 2017 and is anticipated to expand at a robust CAGR of 3.8% during the forecast period, according to a new report published by Transparency Market Research (TMR) titled “Flat Carbon Steel Market – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2018–2026.” Growth of the flat carbon steel market is primarily attributable to rising demand for flat carbon steel in building & construction and transportation industries. The construction industry in India, China, and Vietnam has witnessed significant growth over the last few years. This is likely to boost the global flat carbon steel market during the forecast period. Rapid development of infrastructure in Asia Pacific led by rapid urbanization and industrialization is augmenting the global flat carbon steel market.
Building & construction was a leading application segment of the global flat carbon steel market, holding a market share of more than 40% in 2017. The trend is anticipated to continue during the forecast period. The segment is projected to gain market share by 2026. Rising urbanization, industrialization, and government efforts to develop infrastructure in developing economies such as India, China, Vietnam, Brazil, Malaysia, Thailand, and countries in GCC are expected to boost the segment during the forecast period. The building & construction segment is likely to offer substantial growth opportunities to the flat carbon steel market, especially in developing countries of Asia Pacific and across the world, during the forecast period. This can be attributed to high mechanical strength, toughness, and durability offered by flat carbon steel. Superior properties of cold-rolled and hot-rolled coils make them suitable for the manufacture of lightweight and heavy components such as panels and molds for concrete.
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Demand for hot-rolled coils was significantly high in 2017, which resulted in their prices being closer to the global average price. Hot-rolled coils are consumed in a large number of industries for various applications. High demand for these coils, particularly from the industrial machinery sector, is expected to impact their prices in the near future. Galvanized coils and tinplates were available at a higher price compared to cold-rolled coils in 2017. Among these, the demand for galvanized coils is expected to increase at a significant rate during the forecast period, which would subsequently influence prices of galvanized coils in the next few years. Plates were available at a cost lower than that of other products, with their prices varying largely from hot-rolled coils and cold-rolled coils. The plates segment is anticipated to expand at a low pace from 2018 to 2026, which is likely result in continuation of lower prices of plates in the near future. Prices of flat carbon steel products were higher in Americas than other regions, while they were lower in Asia Pacific and Europe. Among products, pre-painted steel coils were more expensive than other flat carbon steel products.
The flat carbon steel market in Asia Pacific is expected to expand at a significant CAGR during the forecast period, owing to expanding construction and automotive industries and presence of prominent players in the region. Additionally, exports of flat carbon steel from developing countries such as India, which have risen significantly from 2016 to 2017, are anticipated to drive the flat carbon steel market in Asia Pacific during the forecast period. Countries in the region are major manufacturing hubs for products such as vehicles, locomotives, vessels, and other equipment. Rapid industrialization and urbanization in Asia Pacific is paving a way for rise in the demand for flat carbon steel in the building & construction industry in the region.
North America and Europe collectively constituted 25% of the market share in 2017. The individual share held by these regions is expected to decline by the end of the forecast period. Trade deficit and instability in prices of raw materials are anticipated to restrain the market in these regions from 2018 to 2026. A similar trend is anticipated to be observed in Latin America and Middle East & Africa during the forecast period. Rising construction activities in Colombia and GCC are expected to boost the global flat carbon steel market during the forecast period. However, the effect may be counterbalanced by restraints for the market.
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The flat carbon steel market is highly fragmented and more than 80% of the market is dominated by small manufacturers spread across the globe. However, certain manufacturers dominate the market in a specific region, which generates intense competition within that region. Key producers of flat carbon steel depict a medium to low level of forward integration. This provides a distinct competitive advantage to market leaders. Exit barriers are high due to high investments required in agreements, machinery, intellectual property rights, and technology. Entry of several small- to medium-scale manufacturers has intensified the competition in the flat carbon steel market.
Companies have been trying to improve competitiveness by optimizing existing processes and developing new processes to reduce the environmental impact, improve quality, and reduce costs. Companies including ArcelorMittal have been trying to develop products that can offer high-strength steel to engine powertrains and low-cost cars.
Most manufacturers of flat carbon steel are located in China, India, the U.S., and Russia. Certain small-scale manufacturers are located in South Korea and Taiwan. Major manufacturer include ArcelorMittal S.A., China Baowu Group Ltd, Corporation, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corporation, and POSCO Steel. Other major players operating in the global flat carbon steel market include Nucor Corporation, Shandong Iron and Steel Group Co Ltd, Gerdau S.A., and PAO Severstal.
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