Analysts estimate that ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steel company outside of China, will make more money this year than giants such as McDonald's Corp. or PepsiCo Inc. About this writes Bloomberg.
“Rising industrial demand is driving these upswings, with factories trying to increase consumption after being idle during the pandemic. In addition to this, the authorities of China and Russia are trying to restrict exports in order to help other industries at home, ”the newspaper notes.
ArcelorMittal said in its annual income statement that its priority is to return returns to shareholders. This is partly due to fears that the protectionist measures governments are taking to support their ailing steel companies will not last forever.
Few expect these good times to last until 2022. Keybanc Capital Markets and Bank of America Corp. believe that the supply lag behind demand, which has driven the rise in US steel prices, will end this year. But some analysts predict the current rally could mean better times in the long run, with prices eventually settling at more stable levels than before.
Also the renewed focus on stimulating the economy and infrastructure in the US and Europe gives cause for optimism. Biden is determined to build new railways and housing, while the EU is focusing on clean energy as part of the coronavirus and Green Deal recovery package.
This requires a lot of steel. London-based consulting firm CRU Group estimates that Biden's infrastructure plan will increase annual demand by about 5 million tonnes over the first five years. If the bipartisan package is approved, $ 579 billion will be spent on infrastructure projects in the United States.
Biden has yet to lift 25 percent tariffs on foreign steel imposed by former President Donald Trump, while the EU decided last month to extend its safeguards by another three years. In addition, the EU will impose tariffs on imported steel as part of its green deal, which will most of all fall on carbon-intensive producers such as Russia.
So far, there are no signs of a future imminent decline in sky-high steel prices, and the metals industry is poised to report the highest earnings in history.