Worldwide demand growth for steel pipe will be paced by continued strong increases in developing markets through 2019. The pace of gains will decelerate from that of the 2009-2014 period as construction activity slows in China and other developing countries, and as oil and gas exploration moderates in North America after a period of rapid growth. Steel will remain the dominant pipe material in energy applications, but in other markets it will face greater competition from plastic and other materials that offer cost or performance advantages.
Growth in large Chinese market to remain above global average
According to World Steel Pipe, a study from The Freedonia Group, China, by far the world’s largest national market in 2014, was a primary driver of growth in steel pipe demand between 2004 and 2014. Expansion across all steel pipe markets, especially in structural, mechanical, OEM, and construction applications, fueled world steel pipe demand. Through the forecast period, advances in steel pipe demand in China are projected to decelerate significantly, though growth will remain above the global average. In contrast to slowing growth in the Chinese market, demand for steel pipe in several other countries in Asia is projected to accelerate through 2019. India will see strong improve¬ment in growth, driven by an acceleration in construction spending and expansion in its manufacturing sector. The North American market contracted between 2004 and 2009 due to economic recession, but saw robust 2009-2014 growth, driven by a boom in demand for pipe for oil and gas production. Through 2019, demand in North America is projected to decelerate significantly, due to a slowdown in investment in the energy sector.
Oil & gas leading steel pipe market
The oil and gas market is the leading application for steel pipe, accounting for over half of demand in 2014. Steel makes up the vast majority of pipe utilized in oil and gas transportation and especially production due to its high strength and its pressure and thermal resistance. Demand for oil and gas pipe saw healthy advances between 2009 and 2014, driven by growth in China and North America; however, advances are expected to decelerate through 2019 because of slowing exploration and drilling based on already high production levels and lower oil prices.
Other markets to see demand gains
Freedonia forecasts that steel pipe used in equipment manufacturing is expected to see above average growth through 2019. Structural steel will also register growth above the global average. Although slowing growth in the oil and gas market will limit advances, increases in construction spending will drive demand. Steel pipe also sees significant use in the construction market. Construction demand for steel pipe will see an acceleration through 2019 due to rebounding demand in developed regions.
World Steel Pipe analyzes world demand for steel pipe. It offers historical demand data (2004, 2009 and 2014) plus fore¬casts (2019 and 2024) for total demand as well as demand by market (oil and gas, structural, mechanical and OEM, construction, industrial processing and other), for six regions and 20 countries. The study also considers market environment factors, evaluates company market share and profiles 25 global players.
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