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Global steel demand set to rise by 1.7% in 2024, says report

LONDON, April 11, 2024

Global steel demand is projected to rise by 1.7% in 2024 and 1.2% in 2025, according to the London-based World Steel Association (worldsteel). 
 
The worldsteel is one of the largest and most dynamic industry associations in the world, with members in every major steel-producing country.
 
This year the demand will see a 1.7% rebound to reach 1,793 metric tonne, stated worldsteel in its Short Range Outlook (SRO) steel demand forecast for 2024 and 2025. 
 
Steel demand is forecast to grow by 1.2% in 2025 to reach 1,815 Mt with Asian giant India emerging as the strongest driver of steel demand growth since 2021.
 
As per the worldsteel's projections, Indian steel demand will continue to charge ahead with a 8% increase over 2024 and 2025, mainly driven by continued growth in all steel using sectors and especially by continued strong growth in infrastructure investments. In 2025, steel demand in India is projected to be almost 70 million tonnes higher than in 2020.
 
Commenting on the outlook, Dr. Martin Theuringer, Chairman of the worldsteel Economics Committee, said: "After two years of negative growth and severe market volatility since the Covid crisis in 2020, we see early signs of global steel demand settling in a growth trajectory in 2024 and 2025."
 
According to him, the global economy continues to show resilience despite facing several strong headwinds, the lingering impact from the pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, high inflation, high costs and falling household purchasing power, rising geopolitical uncertainties, and forceful monetary tightening. 
 
"As we approach the end of this monetary tightening cycle, we observed that tighter credit conditions and higher costs have led to a sharp slowdown in housing activity in most major markets, and have hampered manufacturing sector globally," noted Dr Theuringer. 
 
"While it seems the world economy will experience a soft landing from this monetary tightening cycle, we expect to see global steel demand growth remaining weak and market volatility remaining high on lagged impact of monetary tightening, high costs and high geopolitical uncertainties," he stated.
 
As per worldsteel's projections, the demand in China in 2024 will remain around the level of last year, as real estate investments continue to decline, but the corresponding steel demand loss will be offset by growth in steel demand coming from infrastructure investments and manufacturing sectors. In 2025 we see China steel demand returning to downtrend with a 1% decline.
 
This suggests that by 2025 China’s steel demand will be significantly lower than the recent peak demand year, 2020. 
 
"The projection is also in line with our view that China might have reached its peak steel demand, and the country’s steel demand is likely to continue to decline in the medium-term, as China gradually moves away from a real estate and infrastructure investment dependent economic development model," stated Dr Theuringer.
 
"Our projections for the world excluding China suggest a broad-based growth in steel demand at a relatively strong level of 3.5% per annum over 2024-25," he added.
 
According to him, other emerging parts of the world such as Mena and Asean are expected to show accelerating growth in their steel demand over 2024-2025 after a significant slowdown over 2022-2023. 
 
"We observe that mounting difficulties in the ASEAN region, such as political instability and erosion of competitiveness, might lead to a lower trend steel demand growth going forward," he added.
 
On the future outlook, the worldsteel said the developed world is expected to show a strengthening recovery with 1.3% in 2024 and 2.7% in 2025, as steel demand finally shows a meaningful pick up in the EU in 2025 and continued resilience in the US, Japan, and Korea.
 
After only a technical rebound in 2024, the EU (and the UK) region’s steel demand is expected to finally show a meaningful recovery with a 5.3% growth in 2025. The forecasted steel demand for the EU in 2024 is only 1.5 Mt higher than the pandemic trough in 2020, it stated.
 
In stark contrast with the European Union, the US steel demand continues to show healthy steel demand fundamentals. 
 
The country’s steel demand is expected to quickly return to growth path in 2024 after a sharp drop led by housing market slowdown in 2023 thanks to strong investment activity, which received a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act and a gradual recovery in housing activity, it added.
 



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