Demand within the UK steel industry, both locally produced and imported, totalled 10 million tonnes per year in 2011, compared with 14 million tonnes six years ago. This is a major; almost 30% fall in real consumption, whereas value sales remained virtually unchanged.
The industry's fortunes depend on activity in the construction and automotive industries, among others, and also on the price of inputs such as iron ore and coking coal. Demand from these industries contracted as the financial crisis took hold in 2008-09. Steel prices then plunged in 2009-10 as demand dried up in the wake of the financial crisis.
In 2012, Britain's steel industry was given a double-barrelled boost as two major announcements set fires roaring in the UK's industrial heartlands.
The first saw the re-lighting of the blast furnace in Teesside, as steel production resumed at the Redcar site after shuddering to a halt in 2010.
The second was a plan by Tata Steel to pump £800million into the steel industry in Wales, including Port Talbot, over the next five years.
The top four companies have a combined market share of 68% (an industry is considered to have high concentration when this figure is over 70%). Despite only displaying a medium level of concentration, this industry is clearly monopolised.
The dominant market player (Tata Steel Europe) accounts for 58.7% of total industry revenue. Therefore, it can be argued that the industry is highly concentrated towards one company.
At the end of 2012 there were around 480 companies producing basic iron and steel on UK soil. 56% of them were micro-sized producers mostly serving as subcontractors for larger manufacturers, but there were also 15 large companies which supplied the industry with much-needed economies of scale.
Concentration remained high, with the 15 largest firms capturing the dominant 83% share of total industry earnings in 2012.
The UK steel and iron industry is expected to record 1% annual revenue growth over 2013-2018, along with recovering manufacturing volumes and resuming demand for metals, both at a national and international scale.
The strongest growth is anticipated in the developing world, with the CIS countries and Latin America rapidly recovering from the collapse in demand caused by the economic crisis.
For more information on the UK steel industry, see the latest research: UK Steel Industry
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