Metals and Steel Industry Trends United States - 2022

Market Monitor

  • USA
  • Metals,
  • Steel

5th September 2022

Robust demand situation set to continue

USA Metals Credit Risk 2022

After a very high growth rate in 2021, US metals and steel output is expected to increase by about 5% this year, driven by ongoing robust demand, mainly from residential construction, aerospace, transportation and engineering. However, the decrease in automotive sales in H1 of 2022 indicates diminishing demand for high priced, metal-intensive consumer products, given high fuel costs and consumer price inflation. Order backlogs persist amid supply chain constraints. While oil and gas prices have sharply increased, the robust demand enables metals and steel businesses to pass on higher input prices. The industry benefits from the fact that some US manufacturers have moved production back home in order to avoid further supply chain disruptions and to improve price stability.

USA Metals output 2022

That said, the US metals and steel industry is facing increased competition from EU peers in its domestic market, due to the partial scaling back of Section 232 tariffs for EU imports and the weaker EUR compared to the USD. This will cap domestic production growth in 2023, when we expect production to increase by about 3%.

Persistent high inflation remains a downside risk, as it could trigger more aggressive monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve. A hard economic landing would result in decreasing consumption and investment, dampening metals and steel demand. In such a scenario, we would expect metals and steel output to contract by about 1% in 2023. 

Payment duration in the metals and steel sector has improved to 45 days on average in 2022, compared to 81 days in 2021, because most buyers could not demand longer payment terms in a market environment of high demand coupled with supply issues. However, a majority of businesses anticipate longer payment terms to return in the mid-term. The amount of non-payments and insolvencies has been low in 2021 and H1 of 2022, and we expect no deterioration in the coming twelve months. While metals and steel businesses are highly dependent on bank financing, gearing of businesses is generally stable. Banks are willing to provide loans to capital-intensive metals and steel businesses that are consistently profitable. Our underwriting stance remains neutral across all main subsectors (iron and steel, non-ferrous metals, casting and metals manufacturing). 


Related documents


Each publication available on or from our websites, such as, but not limited to webpages, reports, articles, publications, tips and helpful content, trading briefs, infographics, videos (each a “Publication”) is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a recommen¬dation or advice as to particular transactions, investments or strategies in any way to any reader. Readers must make their own independent decisions, commercial or otherwise, regarding the information provided. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in any Publication has been obtained from reliable sources, Atradius is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in any Publication is provided ’as is’, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from its use, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In no event will Atradius, its related partnerships or corporations, or the partners, agents or employees thereof, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in any Publication, or for any loss of opportunity, loss of profit, loss of production, loss of business or indirect losses, special or similar damages of any kind, even if advised of the possibility of such losses or damages.