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Production of metal worldwide: must-read reports and analysis

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Global Metal Manufacturing Industry

The metal manufacturing industry (a segment of the main chemicals and materials market) involves the production of metal for use in a variety of other industries. Metal is used to make machines and structures, and is widely used in the building industry for developing structural frames. Metal products are also used for automotive parts and equipment, weaponry and surgical equipment.

Common metal components include: sheet metal, structural steel, tube stock, casting, hardware and welding wire. Metal industry companies can be grouped either on the fabrication side (where metal preparation and assembly is carried out) and/or the machine manufacturing side (where metal is used to produce machine tools). Metal manufacturing is a specialized process using both manual and automated labor, necessitating a high level of security in processes such as torching, cutting, sawing, welding and shearing.

The global metal packaging market has a forecast worth of almost $165.5 billion for 2021 according to Visiongain. Demand for metal packaging is strong in developing markets where increasing wealth is fuelling consumption of packaged products and packaging for industry. Submarkets reliant on the metal packaging market include personal care, healthcare, food and beverages.

Key Metal Market Segments

Steel - The global steel market grew by close to 40% in 2010 reaching almost $962 billion, according to research from MarketLine. It is estimated that market value will grow to more than $2,310 billion in 2015, representing a volume of over 1,567,000 thousand metric tons for almost 16% growth in the five-year period ending 2015. Asia-Pacific represents the largest share of the global steel market, at close to 65%.

Aluminum - The global aluminum industry is worth close to $100 billion, according to industry analysts. Aluminum is produced in around 40 countries and is widely used in packaging, construction and transportation. The US aluminum market is worth around $40 billion according to Taiyou Research. Industrialization in emerging economies such as India and China is fuelling demand for the lightweight metal. Industrial growth in China is strong, with the automotive and construction industries driving demand for aluminum. Asia produces around 25% of the world’s aluminum, with China consuming the same amount. Legislation limiting CO2 emissions from vehicles is likely to fuel aluminum demand across the board, as aluminum used in cars instead of heavier metals cuts gas consumption significantly. Metals commonly used instead of aluminum, including copper and zinc, are becoming more costly, which is also boosting demand for aluminum; the price of aluminum is forecast to rise to over $3,000 per ton by the end of 2011.

Leading Metal Manufacturers

Steel - The number one steel manufacturer in the world is ArcelorMittal, which holds close to 7% of the market according to volume. The company is present in over 60 countries and has more than 20 mines in operation. Baosteel is China’s leading steel manufacturer, producing high-tech steel products divided into three categories: carbon steel, special steel and stainless steel. It has a presence in over 40 countries worldwide. Other leading players in steel manufacturing include POSCO, Nippon Steel, JFE, Jiangsu Shagang, Tata Steel, US Steel, Ansteel, and Gerdau.

Aluminum - The aluminum manufacturing industry is lead by United Company RUSAL, with close to 13% of the global market for aluminum, and 16% for the alumina market. RUSAL is present in 17 countries spanning five continents. Primary aluminum producer Alcoa is present in close to 45 countries, and its products are used in the packing, aerospace and automotive industries, among others. Canadian aluminum manufacturer Alcan leads in the market segments of packaging and structural materials. Other leading companies in the aluminum market include Chalco, Hydro Aluminum, BHP Billiton, Dubal, Rio Tinto Group, Aluminum Bahrain B.S.C., and Century Aluminum.

Market Outlook

Demand for metal is rising as the automotive, electrical and construction industries rebound after the economic downturn. Challenges to the metal manufacturing industry include less expensive imports, and fluctuating prices of aluminum and steel.

  US Steel Shipments by Market Classification - 2010

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