Market Trends: March 2017

Published: 03/06/2017

World Crude Steel Production

Based on data from the 67 steel-producing countries, global crude steel production was 136.5 million tonnes (Mt) in January 2017, a 7.0% increase compared to January 2016. The crude steel capacity utilization ratio for the 67 countries in January 2017 was 68.5%. This is 3.4% Higher than in January 2016. Compared to December 2016, it is 0.9% higher.

Sources:  World Steel Association- Data Released February 21, 2017

U.S. Steel Production

Total U.S. raw steel production was 1,770,000 net tons while the capability utilization rate was 74.7% in the week ending on February 25, 2017. The current week production represents a 3.6% increase from the same period in the previous year.

Sources:  Steel Works- Data Released February 27, 2017

Crude Oil and Natural Gas Prices


West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices are forecast to average about $1/b less than Brent prices in 2017. The NYMEX contract values for April 2017 delivery traded during the five-day period ending February 2nd suggest that a range from $45/b to $65/b encompasses the market expectation of WTI prices in April 2017 at the 95% confidence level.


Brent crude oil spot prices averaged $54/barrel (b) in February, a $1/b decrease from January. EIA forecasts Brent crude oil prices to average $55/b in 2017 and $57/b in 2018.

Henry Hub:

Henry Hub Natural Gas Spot Price is at a current level of 2.44 for the week of February 27, down from 2.63 the previous market day and up from 1.78 one year ago. Increasing capacity for natural gas-fired electric generation, growing domestic natural gas consumption, and new export capabilities contribute to the forecast Henry Hub natural gas spot price rising from an average of $3.43/MMBtu in 2017 to $3.70/MMBtu in 2018.

Sources:  U.S. Energy Information Administration, Natural Gas Intelligence

U.S. Rig Count

The U.S. rotary rig count from Baker Hughes was up 2 at 756 for the week ending March 3, 2017. This is 267 rigs (54.6%) higher than last year.

The number of rotary rigs drilling for oil was up 7 at 609. There are 217 more rigs targeting oil than last year. Rigs drilling for oil represent 80.6 percent of all drilling activity.

Sources:  Baker Hughes, U.S. Energy Information Administration, WTRG

Global Rig Count

International rig count, which excludes the US and Canada, was up 4 rigs to 933 rigs for the month of January 2017. Year over year, this is a decrease of 112 rigs. 

Sources:  Baker Hughes, Rigzone, WTRG, IHS Inc

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