Metals Industry Outlook 2019
2018 was a tumultuous year for several metals industries, to say the least, but for the 2019 metals industry outlook, growth in the end-user industries and the Chinese economy are fueling some optimism among experts.
Metal industry overall
Growth in metal fabrication is poised to keep a steady pace at the national level for the 2019 U.S. GDP—between 2.7 and 3.4 percent, says one industry source. In recent years, demand has increased to levels near or above those seen before the 2008 recession, and that’s led to optimism among many experts.
China’s evolving manufacturing sector and rising per-capita GDP mean the demand for world-class architecture in the country is growing, and that drives demand. Aluminum extrusions are desirable for several traits, including their structural strength, water resistivity, eco-friendliness and others. Aluminum is heat resistant, meaning the extrusion process is more efficient—and around 73 percent of the aluminum produced after 1886 is still in use today, as it is highly recyclable.
Various surface-finish techniques such as anodizing and coating mean aluminum is suitable for interior design purposes, as well.
In addition, motor-vehicle production in India and Thailand is growing, meaning aluminum is in higher demand there.
The nickel production industry started looking up in 2018. Prices rebounded from a $7,700 per ton low between 2015 and 2017, to $15,745 per ton in June 2018. This uptick was primarily driven by falling inventories and rising Chinese demand.
Another factor is increased demand in the stainless steel end markets, including aerospace, oil and gas, power generation and chemical processing industries.
The 2019 metals industry outlook looks to include more modest growth. Market forces, including a softening oil and gas market, are working to depress prices. Overall, growth looks to be on the horizon.
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