The Global Steel Market - everything you need to know about the global steel market brought to you by Hillfoot.


We are all feeling the effects of what is without doubt a very volatile steel market. The position from global steel mills is highly dynamic, so in an effort to keep our customers as up to date as possible we have compiled this report. Hopefully it will provide some clarity on the situation!

In this quarter’s report we cover:

  • Import Quotas / Steel Safeguarding Measures: These measures, which limit the volume of product that can be imported into the UK, is increasing the risk of steel availability in the UK marketplace and poses a potential threat to UK manufacturing.
  • Mill Lead Times / Delivery: Lead times for steel bar, in some instances, are now up to 10 months, contrasting with 3-4 months in a flat market. This is also being further impacted by the availability of haulage and a shortage of lorry drivers.
  • Pricing: The knock-on effect of the mill lead times is unforecastable costs, with mills adopting a policy of ‘prices to be confirmed nearer production’. It has been observed that these then end up being significantly higher than anticipated when the order was originally placed.
  • Export Tariffs / Rebates: China’s ‘Green’ policy is resulting in reduced steel production and a concentration on domestic markets. The government has abolished rebates on export products which has meant a 13% price increase.

The outlook for prices on carbon and engineering alloy steels is that they will remain strong for the rest of the year and into 2022, underpinned by costs of input commodities.

We appreciate that there is a lot to digest, so please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to discuss further or understand the supply solutions we can offer to mitigate some of this risk. As always, we are doing all we can to ensure a limited effect on our customer’s supply chains.