World steel outlook: Growth for the next years

The World Steel Association has released its Short Range Outlook (SRO) for 2014 and 2015. Worldsteel forecasts that global apparent steel use will increase by 2.0% to 1,562 Mt in 2014 following growth of 3.8% in 2013. In 2015, it is forecast that world steel demand will grow by another 2.0% and will reach 1,594 Mt.

Chairman of worldsteel Economics Committee, Mr Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff said “The positive momentum in global steel demand seen in the second half of 2013 abated in 2014 with weaker than expected performance in the emerging and developing economies. As a consequence we are issuing a lower steel demand growth figure than our forecast released in April this year.” Mr Kerkhoff continued: “In 2015 we expect steel demand growth in developed economies to moderate, while we project growth in the emerging and developing economies to pick up. In China rebalancing will continue to act as a drag on steel demand.”

Apparent steel use in China is expected to slow to just 1.0% growth in 2014 to 748.3 MT with rapid cooling of the real estate sector as the government’s efforts to rebalance the economy curtails investment and weakens business sentiment. The weak growth momentum will continue into 2015 and China’s steel apparent steel use will grow by 0.8% to reach 754.3 in 2015.

India’s outlook is improving following the election of a new government which is promising pro-business reforms. In 2014, India’s steel demand is expected to grow by 3.4% to 76.2 Mt in 2014, following growth of 1.8% in 2013. In 2015 structural reforms and improving confidence will support a further 6% growth in steel demand but elevated inflation and fiscal consolidation remain key downside risks to the outlook.

In Japan following a 2.1% increase in apparent steel use in 2013, steel demand in 2014 is revised upward to increase by a further 2.3% to 66.8 Mt aided by governmental economic policies.

In the United States, after a decrease of -0.4% in apparent steel use in 2013, steel demand is seen increasing by 6.7% to 102.2 Mt in 2014, a large upward revision, helped by strong growth in the automotive and energy sectors. Steel demand is expected to increase by 1.9% in 2015.

The recovery in the EU (28) has gained further momentum in 2014 and steel demand outlook has improved considerably to grow by 4% to 145.9 Mt after increasing by 0.8% in 2013. The improvement reflects a pickup in steel using sectors in most countries, but notably the UK and Poland and those countries that underwent structural reforms. Apparent steel use in 2015 is projected to grow by 2.9%. However, the EU is facing new challenges with disinflation and geopolitical tensions threatening the continued recovery.


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