03-Feb-2021 Download Article Share Via :

Global economies and metal markets 1950-2020 Indonesian ferrochrome use expands 20% in 2020

 

Global economies and metal markets were grim in 2020 so we thought it useful to put it into context with some long term time series. WBMS has global metals production back to the 1890s in some cases. We have taken 1950 as a starting point and compared this with 1975, 2000 and 2020 so almost quarter centuries.

Table 1 - Global metals production in Mt 1950-2019

Table 1 - Global metals production in Mt 1950-2019

Table 1 shows global production of the main non- ferrous metals, steel and stainless steel, all in millions of metric tons. The final column shows the average annual growth rate over that 69 year period.

In terms of volume growth there have been two star performers: Stainless steel with 5.9% and aluminium with 5.6% average annual growth. Bear in mind that with stainless in 1950 and 1975 all production was in ingots with maybe 65% yield to flat and long products. By 2019 with slab casting and highly developed hot and cold rolling, yields can be 90% and more. So in terms of stainless flat and long products it has grown faster than melt production shown above.

With aluminium we are counting production at the smelter, an earlier stage in the value chain where the process has seen large cost reductions but the process is similar. The same is true in nickel where ferronickel or nickel pig iron is still produced with the rotary kiln and electric furnace (RK/EF) route. In other words stainless has done even better than the figures above suggest. Global economic growth over the period would have averaged 4% or less annually, so stainless has increased in terms of intensity of use.

The period 1950 to 1975 was the golden period of economic growth following the depression of the 1930s and the destruction of the Second World War. The Marshall Plan in Europe led to high economic growth for over two decades. This was only slowed by the first energy crisis in November 1973 when the quadrupling of the oil price precipitated a deep recession.

In the final 25 years of the 20th century, Europe was a significant exporter of stainless and the rationalisation of the industry gathered pace to reduce costs. In Asia, Japan was the leading producer, with Korea, Taiwan and India becoming significant players.

In the 21st century, China grew from almost nowhere to produce around 50% of global stainless production and a similar share of several other metals. China also developed vertical integration by smelting nickel ore to nickel pig iron in Indonesia and built an adjacent large, low cost stainless melt shop and rolling mills.

Chart 1 - Global stainless slab production - average annual growth

Chart 1 - Global stainless slab production - average annual growth

Chart 1 shows global slab production growth over these three periods. If you adjust it for the yield efficiencies (slab casting started in the early 1980s) annual growth was around 6% pa, exceeding that of all other major metals with only aluminium coming close.

Chart 2 - Stainless slab production in 4 periods of time in Mt

Chart 2 - Stainless slab production in 4 periods of time in Mt

Chart 2 shows slab production by main regions in each of the 4 years. It is clear that all China’s growth has been in the last 20 years. In fact I had to check the data, I thought I had made a mistake, but in 2000 China’s slab production was less than 600 kt!

Europe and Japan suffered declines in production since 2000; India and Other Asia (Indonesia mainly) had strong recent growth.

The 1950 data is barely visible on the chart but for the record, the USA then accounted for 80% of global production!

 

- ENDS-

 

Editors requiring more detailed information should contact Sue Eales by email at suee@world-bureau.co.uk or by telephone +44 (0) 1920 461274

 

Disclaimer

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information contained in this release WBMS and its Board of Directors can accept no responsibility for any losses incurred as a direct result of any actions based on conclusions drawn from the data.

 

Terms of Use

All data herein may be copied freely, duplicated and further distributed provided that WBMS is cited as the source.

Editors requiring more detailed information should contact Sue Eales by email at suee@world-bureau.co.uk or by telephone +44 (0) 1920 461274

Disclaimer

Whilst every effort is made to ensure the accuracy and validity of the information contained in this release WBMS and its Board of Directors can accept no responsibility for any losses incurred as a direct result of any actions based on conclusions drawn from the data.

Terms of Use

All data herein may be copied freely, duplicated and further distributed provided that WBMS is cited as the source.

About World Bureau of Metal Statistics:

The World Bureau of Metal Statistics is the data resource of first resort for anyone involved with the global metals industry. By outsourcing their research to WBMS, whether via regular publications or surveys tailored to their needs, organisations not only enjoy the benefit of reliable, first class data but also save significantly on cost and time. Through regular publications, available on subscription in print and electronic format, WBMS are able to keep companies and organisations throughout the world up to date on the production, consumption and trade in the major non-ferrous metals.

Launched in 1947, WBMS concentrated initially on the metals trade within the then British Empire. With the contraction of Empire, the organisation switched focus to the world stage and began collecting and collating data from a huge number of global sources. More than half a century later, its massive and regularly updated database forms the basis of printed and electronic publications aimed at the many and varied users of metal statistics. In particular, its monthly World Metal Statistics Bulletin represents the most comprehensive data available anywhere.

World Bureau of Metal Statistics

31 Star Street
Ware
Herts
SG12 7AA
United Kingdom

Tel: +44 (0) 1920 461274