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Central- och Östeuropa
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Mellanöstern och Turkiet
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  • General recovery in the sector, coupled with a strong increase in metal prices
  • Recovery in demand coming from the manufacturing sector
  • Products used in many industries across the world, notably in the manufacture of electrical batteries and aluminum components intended for electric vehicles
  • Future opportunities for some metals, such as nickel, with the development of electric vehicles


  • Increased pressure from Chinese authorities to reorganise the iron and steel industry
  • Highly dependent on Chinese economic policy
  • Push to reduce the environmental footprint of mining and metalworking

Riskbedömning av sektorer

Coface anticipates 2022 growth rate to reach 4.1%, after 5.6% in 2021. Demand in the manufacturing sector has rebounded strongly in the richest countries thanks to the mitigation of containment measures. The sustained demand following the easing of the lockdowns created a mismatch between supply and demand, inducing strong pressures on prices. Many base metals suffered years of underinvestment, notably after the “Supercycle”, and as such, all the conditions are met to keep the current imbalance between supply and demand somewhat alive in the forthcoming quarters.

However, in recent months, prices of some metals have fallen from the record highs reached in 2021, notably steel prices in China and in Europe. This suggests that the overall recovery in metals may be stagnating. Markets are anticipating a slowdown in Chinese demand, as authorities want to curb the expansion of the steel sector to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets. Furthermore, authorities are acting swiftly to reduce speculation around metal prices to help downstream sectors cope with higher input prices, while the construction sector is seen as vulnerable due to difficulties experienced by big real estate and property developers.

Finally, although it is very hard to anticipate trends in details, metal prices, which peaked in 2021, seem to be stabilising now, in line with Chinese demand (50% of world metal demand) that is continuing to grow, but at a slower pace. It should be noted that new waves of the pandemic can occur, and may threaten the global economy and therefore the metals sector.

Sektoriella ekonomiska insikter

Although early in China, the recovery has been widespread thanks to the stimulus plans of the richest countries. Coface estimates GDP growth of 5.4%, 3.7% and 3.7% in 2022 in China, Europe and the United States, respectively. In 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out, the metals sector, which is highly dependent on economic conditions, was affected differently across the globe. According to the Australian Department of Industry, Science, Energy and Resources, global consumption of steel, copper and nickel will grow by 2.7%, 2% and 4.7% in 2022, respectively. General consumption will slow globally as economic activity will shift towards a regime with a lower growth rate. While vaccination rates are increasing, the irruption of a new variant is expected to impact economic activity. Moreover, China policy support for the construction and real estate sectors will be of paramount importance to help sustained metal prices. The current supply chain issues (semis shortage, lack of magnesium, etc.) could well continue into 2022, and affect prices accordingly. The Chinese recovery, followed by a more global recovery, allowed metal prices to rise. For 2022, prices are expected to stay at high levels due to relatively strong demand and limited supply growth. Years of underinvestment in several segments are posing some limitations on production, while restrictions implemented to contain the spread of new variants could strengthen prices in 2022. However, market balancing could be effective at Q4 2022 if Chinese authorities will not set up an accommodative monetary policy. Finally, an U.S. infrastructure plan could help demand to pick up and thus sustain high levels prices

The steel industry is decelerating in China

Continued development of electric engines is expected to continue to have a major impact on its business

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