Steel News

World Steel Association: Global Steel Demand Up, But Declining in Most Regions

10/17/2019 - The World Steel Association has revised down its biannual demand forecast for most of the world’s regions, but is nevertheless projecting demand to rise globally on the strength in the Chinese construction market.  

According to the association’s October 2019 short-range outlook, Chinese demand is expected to reach 900.1 million metric tons this year, an upward revision of 56.8 million metric tons from its April forecast. 

With that increase, global demand is expected to rise to 1.78 billion tons this year, an increase of 3.9%, it said.   

The association said Chinese real estate investment supported the increase, noting that the first seven months of this year were the strongest in same period over the last five years. 

“In China, the real estate sector drove growth in construction activity in 2019,” it said. 

However, in most other regions, the association revised down its 2019 demand forecasts and is predicting that this year’s steel need will generally recede from 2018 levels. 

In the European Union, for instance, demand is forecast to fall 1.2% this year to 166.8 million metric tons. Meanwhile, demand in the Middle East is expected to retreat 4.6% to 47.9 million metric tons. 

“Steel demand slowed in 2019 as uncertainty, trade tensions and geopolitical issues weighed on investment and trade. Manufacturing, particularly the auto industry, has performed poorly and is contracting in many countries,” it said. 

Nevertheless, North American demand is projected to increase 0.6% to 141.5 million metric tons.

Further out, the association said it sees global demand rise 1.7% in 2020 on growth in emerging and developing economies, excluding China. But it cautioned that the forecast assumes the current uncertainty in the market doesn’t become entrenched.  

“This forecast faces significant downside risks if the current level of uncertainty prevails,” it said.