There is a lot on the horizon for the metals industry in 2023, and supply and demand increases seem likely. Jeff Cox, vice president of sales and marketing at Three D Metals, offers his predictions on what to expect in the new year.
Improved Supply Chain Outlook
While supply chain challenges still remain across the board, the supply chain outlook for metal products is steadily improving.
“Supply chain issues seem to be correcting to where we’re able to buy to meet our customer demands,” said Cox. “Availability of material has improved; although lead times are still extended and on-time performance is well below normal.”
He also added that the supply chain for copper and aluminum coil should be strong in 2023, with the exception of light gauge copper.
Increased Demand for Copper and Aluminum Expected
Cox explained that the data processing and power generation industries, which rely heavily on copper and aluminum, should see significant growth in 2023 and beyond.
“The utility market is still going to be very strong with the improvements needed to the grid,” he said. “A lot of our network is outdated, not only needing to see repairs or replacements, but with the increased number of data centers, you need more power, which means more substation construction.”
Aluminum bus pipe is needed for constructing substations, whereas copper is a key component in electrical equipment.
Cox also added that with the recession affecting automobile sales, demand for automobiles has slowed down and as a result, so has the demand for high carbon steel.
Growing Electric Vehicle Market on the Horizon
Electric vehicles (EVs) have been garnering increased interest for several years, and Cox mentioned that it was a highly talked-about topic at FABTECH 2023.
“EV is kind of in its infancy, so the demand that’s going to bring over the next two to five years is going to bode well for the metals market – not only high carbon steel, but copper and aluminum coil, sheet, plate, and bar,” he said.
Overall, Cox is optimistic about the outlook for the metals industry in 2023. With changes in the marketplace and new products, there is lots of potential.
“I think 2023 is going to see an improvement over 2022, as far as availability of product, and I think 2023 is going to be a really good year in certain markets – data centers, transformers, and utility markets,” he said.
That said, Three D Metals is gearing up to meet your needs in the coming year and beyond.