US steel investors
2019 has started on a positive note for US steel stocks like U.S. Steel (X), Nucor (NUE), and AK Steel (AKS). In this article, we’ll see what US steel investors should watch out for this year after a strong start to the year.
The demand-supply equation could be a key driver of US steel prices (MT). Over the last couple of months, US steel demand indicators, particularly from the housing and automotive sectors, have shown signs of moderating growth. On the supply side, US steel production has been on an uptrend on domestic capacity restarts. So far, incremental supply hasn’t negatively impacted the supply situation, as it has been accompanied by a fall in imports. However, it will be crucial to see how the imports situation unfolds this year.
Steel investors (CLF) are also closely watching China’s slowdown. Chinese steel prices came under pressure last year amid weak demand from the real estate and automotive sectors. The steps taken by the Chinese government to arrest the growth slowdown could impact Chinese as well as US steel prices.
This year, we could see the Trump administration move forward on new trade deals. This could also mean Section 232 exemptions for more countries. From steel companies’ perspective, it would be crucial that the exemptions are accompanied with a quota. Finally, Trump’s policies on the proposed infrastructure investments could be a key driver for steel companies this year.
We’ll discuss these drivers in detail in the coming articles.