Coal’s ‘good times’ expected to extend a couple of years longer – by Henry Lazenby ( – September 30, 2017)

VANCOUVER ( – Following “decade of misery” for the steel markets, the “good times” are now, though how long it will last is debatable, according to H&W Worldwide Consulting principal Dr Neil Bristow.

Addressing delegates at the Vancouver-based Coal Association of Canada’s annual conference, on Thursday, Bristow noted that, assuming “business as usual” continues, the global steel industry could see a sustained period of prosperity.

“Twenty-eighteen looks positive and trends suggest 2019 could see more of the same. There is more uncertainty in 2019, but a continuation of benign policy settings and a lack of disjointed policy changes could lead to an extension of further ‘good times’,” he said.

According to Bristow, the steel industry is experiencing stronger demand and better pricing based on improving fundamentals. Not unexpectedly, China has been one of the major drivers, though the rest of the world has also picked up and trends show a continued positive outlook, he advised.

However, and surprisingly so, Indian demand has been disappointing. The outlook for 2018 to 2020 seems encouraging, which suggests that the ‘good times’ can continue despite risks, both structural and unpredictable, he noted, highlighting consolidation, meeting environmental targets, ensuring a licence to operate, efficiency and cost reduction, as some of the current trends in the industry.

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