It is a fact that markets tend to be cyclical. It is also true that the number and relative strength of factors impacting any given market change more rapidly at some points in time than others. Right now we are in a phase in which steel and metal markets are on the move for a variety of local, national and international reasons.
In our cover profile interview, Barry Zekelman points out that increased momentum in US infrastructure investment would supersize demand for the steel pipe and tube that Zekelman Industries produce at its plants in North America.
More buoyant oil prices have assisted recovery in OCTG demand in the United States and lifted other important markets for OCTG in Russia, the Middle East and Asia. Large-diameter line pipe markets have been less swift to respond, but they are often more dependent on long-term government-led projects. Our feature on energy tube & pipe explains current market dynamics.
Railways are another sector for which projects based on public funding are a key factor. As our feature on ArcelorMittals way with rail explains, the major steelmaker has invested in its European rail mills in preparation for what it sees as a positive period for railway authority investments.
Bauxite and alumina markets have their own specific dynamics, but are clearly interconnected with the fortunes of the aluminium industry downstream. The latter, in turn, has become ever more dependent on Chinese governmental decision-making not least with respect to reducing the environmental impacts of heavy industries and power generation. One of our spotlight features weighs up the net impact of current market factors on the outlook for bauxite and alumina markets.
Our technology spotlight article considers enterprise software and artificial intelligence. Both are part of a digital revolution that is transforming the ways in which plants will be operated and businesses run. We consider developments of particular relevance to steel and metal industries.
And our end-user spotlight article looks at the contribution that metals and steel are making to renewable forms of energy generation, including wind and solar power.
Combined with regular market analysis from Metal Bulletin Research, reviews of the past months news, and a list of recently placed new plant orders, our March issue gives a wide-ranging foretaste of things to come throughout 2018.