The rolled metal market during the war and in post-war recovery

The war in Ukraine completely changed the situation on the rolled metal market. Some facilities were destroyed, and some are not working at full capacity. At the same time, the domestic rolled metal market has shrunk significantly, and any deliveries of steel products for export face a lot of problems – from the high cost of logistics to the lack of certain types of raw materials.

Substitution of capacities

To date, the processing industry has not yet fully faced a shortage of raw materials. Partly thanks to the stocks that are in the warehouses of service steel centers. Partly because the demand, which was satisfied by the lost Mariupol factories, managed to be covered by the forces of Zaporizhzhia, Kryvyi Rih, and Dnipro enterprises.

Thin flat rolled products in sheets and coils, which were produced mainly at the facilities of Ilyich Iron and Steel Works of Mariupol, were replaced by cold and hot rolled products produced by Zaporizhstal. There is no hot-dip galvanizing line in Zaporizhzhia, so cold-rolled coils up to 2 mm thick and hot-rolled etched coils up to 2.5 mm in the form of coils arrive in Kryvyi Rih or Kamianets-Podilskyi. There they perform hot-dip galvanizing at the facilities of Unisteel (up to 2.5 mm) or galvanizing and painting at the facilities of Modul-Ukraine (up to 1.3 mm). Accordingly, in the group of thin flat hot and cold rolled products with and without coating, most of the assortment positions that existed before the beginning of the active phase of the war remain available today. However, the oiled galvanized roll is temporarily unavailable due to technological problems with the oiling operation in Kryvyi Rih.

The situation with thick sheet and shaped rolled products is much worse. And although Dniprovskyi Iron and Steel Works-Petrivka can satisfy almost all internal needs for hot-rolled grade profiles, some assortment items were produced only at the Azovstal plant, and soon their stock will be exhausted. Railway rails, sheets in thicknesses of 8-200 mm with dimensions up to 3300×24400 mm will be supplied only by import. The manufacturing industry used the lost stock to a lesser extent, but the construction and engineering industries will face at least a significant increase in its prices already this year.

As for the possibilities of supplying our market with imported flat and long rolled steel products, there is no shortage of these products on foreign markets, and prices are constantly decreasing. Therefore, we can say that it is possible to supply any assortment item. But now Turkish and Chinese raw materials cannot be obtained by sea, and therefore the delivery time and delivery price will be consistently high.

Import for recovery

Imports will play a very important role, that’s for sure. Firstly, our country does not produce the main grade of steel for light thin-walled structures (LTWS) – S350gd. And this is the basic material for manufacturing elements of pitched roof structures and ventilated facades. Also, a large part of commercial buildings and structures are being built using LTWS technology: warehouses, logistics centers, production shops, structures for mounting solar power plants.

Galvanizing during restoration

Without imports, it will be impossible to cover domestic demand even at peak loading of all the country’s galvanizing processing enterprises. According to my estimates, the total consumption of coated thin-sheet flat rolled products should exceed 500,000 tons in the first 2-3 years of Ukraine’s post-war recovery. Of course, under the condition of timely payment of contributions or reparations in the appropriate amounts by the future heir to the rights and obligations of the temporarily existing Russian Federation.

Post-war demand

The military actions caused by the invasion of the occupiers cause the most damage to translucent structures, facades and roofs of buildings. In second place are private households, commercial and industrial buildings.

The window sphere will require significant volumes of reinforcing profiles, which are made of rolled galvanized steel of the DX51D brand with a zinc coating of at least 100 g/m2 in the thickness range of 0.9-2.5 mm. For the manufacture of damaged door structures, you will need cold-rolled steel without coating in rolls and sheets with a thickness of 0.8-2.0 mm. Restoration of roofs, facades and even entire floors of destroyed buildings can be carried out using LTWS technology, which is S350gd steel with a coating of at least 275 g/m2.

New construction can also be done using lightweight steel thin-walled structures. However, if the demilitarization of the territories currently occupied by the Russian Federation is not fully completed by that time, then it is unlikely that we can count on the widespread use of LTWS in residential construction, since steel structures will not protect the residents of such buildings from debris and bullets.

For the construction of granaries, elevators and other agricultural structures, you will need steel with an aluminum-zinc or magnesium-zinc coating and a yield strength of 350 MPa and higher, in the thickness range of 0.8-3.0 mm. All the listed industries will also need an unprecedented number of sandwich panels, roofing and facade profiled sheets, and metal tiles. And this is galvanized steel DX51D with a polymer coating in thicknesses of 0.3-0.8 mm.

Therefore, compared to the period until February 24, 2022, the post-war market will consume more roofing steel in thicknesses up to 0.5 mm, as well as significantly more coils of structural steel grades with zinc and alumino-zinc coating. It can be assumed that galvanizing and black cold-rolled rolls of domestic production will satisfy the needs of window and door manufacturers. And all structural steel roll and a significant part of thin roofing roll with polymer coating will be imported.