Metallic Wire & Cable: what lies ahead after China's slowdown
LONDON, March 10, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- CRU estimates global insulated metallic wire and cable consumption to have grown by just under 1% y/y in 2019, almost reaching 19.0 Mt conductors. This marks the lowest growth rate since the Global Financial Crisis in 2009.
The extent of China's slowdown is unprecedented, driven by sharp declines in electricity grid investment and automotive production. This weighed heavily on cable demand across almost all product categories, though the increase of around 1% y/y in total cable consumption last year is still marginally faster than the world average.
For cable markets outside of China, the situation was worse. Western Europe recorded a contraction in total cable consumption which was triggered by the collapse in the region's automotive sector. Perhaps the greatest surprise came from the Indian subcontinent, where cable demand grew by only 1-2% y/y last year, down from 7.4% in 2018. The pronounced downturn in India was caused by weakness in both the automotive and construction sectors.
Looking ahead, we forecast global wire and cable demand to pick up moderately this year, growing at a rate above 1% y/y, despite a slow start. We expect accelerating growth in the second half of 2020, driven by a recovery in key markets and cable end use sectors, which is greatly discussed in CRU's Wire and Cable Market Outlook alongside our recent Insight. On the downside, China's perceived reduction in future electricity grid investment coupled with the outbreak of Coronavirus Covid-19 has led to further Chinese market downgrades.
In the mid-term, our view on cable demand remains little changed. CRU still forecasts healthy growth in the global insulated metallic wire and cable market between 2019 and 2024, albeit marginally slower than the previous five-year period. Emerging markets will continue to support higher growth rates in global demand. Undoubtedly, elevated activity in construction, infrastructure, utility and industrial developments led by government and private investments will provide significant upside potential for cable demand across all product categories in these regions.
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