Global steel tube production was 164 million tons in 2016, three per cent below the all-time-high reached in the previous year. Significantly lower than in the foreyear was the production in North America, CIS and in China. EU steel tube industry expanded production by 4% on 13 million tons. German steel tube works were able to increase their production by 5% to 2.6 million tons.
Worldwide production of welded steel tubes up to 16" diameter remained almost unchanged. Production in the United States was clearly below the previous year, while EU production rose for the third time in a row.
Production of seamless steel pipes declined in all regions of the world, mainly due to the continuing investment reluctance of the energy industry. The strongest drop was noted in the United States with 20%. EU manufacturers reported a five per cent lower production than in the previous year.
Large diameter tube production significantly declined mainly in North America and in the CIS. EU producers were able to increase their production by 6% after a very weak previous year. Worldwide, the large diameter tube production was 8% lower than the previous year. world.
Prospects for the steel tube industry have improved compared with the previous year. Investment activities of the energy industry are beginning to normalize, after a virtual halt following the collapse of crude oil prices since the year 2015. The steel tube industry in particular should benefit from the corresponding pent-up demand. Cyclically rising commodity- and steel prices should support the steel tube business as well. In addition, steel tube industry will take benefit of robust economies in developed countries, driven by relatively low energy prices, an expansionary fiscal policy and a favourable euro-dollar ratio. A foreseeable more expansionary economic policy and energy policy focused more on fossil fuels in North America should be additional drivers for the steel tube industry.