London: The world’s steel industry is this year bracing for the steepest fall in demand since World War-II, as global economic downturn rips through the sector, chopping demand by almost 15% compared with 2008.
World Steel Association (Worldsteel), whose members produce around 85% of the world’s steel, expects the apparent steel demand to fall by 14.9% to 1,019 million tonnes (mt) this year, compared with 1,197mt last year.
Coming down: Tata Iron and Steel Co. Ltd’s Jamshedpur unit. The apparent steel demand is set to fall by 14.9% to 1,019mt this year. Santosh Verma / Bloomberg
Apparent steel use reflects the deliveries of steel to the marketplace from domestic steel producers as well as importers. This differs from real steel use, which takes into account steel delivered or drawn from industry inventories.
The association, said it expected demand to stabilize in the latter part of 2009, leading to a recovery in 2010, without providing an exact forecast for next year.
“The recovery is coming,” Ian Christmas, director general at Worldsteel, told a news briefing in London, as the industry body released its short-range outlook. “But it’s going to be slow and the timing on how quickly things will improve is still uncertain.”
The forecasts of Worldsteel are prepared by the association’s research team and approved by its board of directors, which is headed by Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman of ArcelorMittal, the world’s top steelmaker.
Christmas said the picture is less severe in emerging countries such as India, Brazil and China, while developed nations are hit much harder.
India is one of the few countries that the association projected to buck the trend, predicting 2 percent growth in steel demand for the Asian nation this year.
Figures confirmed Christmas’s view of the picture worsening in developed nations. Demand for the metal, used in construction and automotive industries, is seen down 36.6% in the US and 28.8% in the European Union.