Fastmarkets worked to empower its customers in 2018 - a year when they had to navigate metal markets in which fundamentals were often tightening even as greater political restraints were placed on trade than for many years. A quick review of the key developments also indicate our direction for 2019.

The London Metal Exchange and its clearing entity, LME Clear, will continue efforts to guarantee clearing services after the United Kingdom leaves the European Union in the process known as Brexit, Fastmarkets heard on Thursday January 3.

World Steel Dynamics' much-discussed June 2018 prediction that US domestic hot-rolled coil prices would plunge by $200 per tonne by the end of the year proved to be uncannily correct.

Japanese steel plate supply is expected to remain tight in 2019 on firm demand from downstream segments, especially the key shipbuilding industry, a source at a leading Japan-based steel mill told Fastmarkets MB.

The stainless steel scrap market in the United States did not enter 2019 with an optimistic view for the new year, sources told Fastmarkets AMM. “Without an influx of some unexpected good news, it looks like we will be stuck with current conditions for a while,” one dealer source said.