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Global Steel Output to Grow in 2024

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Global steel demand will rebound 1.7 percent in 2024 and grow another 1.2 percent in 2025, worldsteel forecasts in its most recent Short Range Outlook. By the end of 2025, worldsteel projects total global steel production to top 1.8 billion metric tons.

 “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,” said Martin Theuringer, chairman of the worldsteel Economics Committee.

Theuringer said 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 the manufacturing sector globally. 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 said.

The forecast says the U.S. continues to show healthy demand fundamentals. Thanks to strong investment activity, the country’s steel demand is expected to quickly return to a growth path in 2024 after a sharp drop led by housing market slowdown, effects of the Inflation Reduction Act and a gradual recovery in housing activity will spur growth.

Steel demand in China in 2024 will remain around the level of 2023, 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 worlsteel sees China's steel demand returning to downtrend with a 1 percent decline.

India has emerged as the strongest driver of steel demand growth since 2021 and projections suggest Indian steel demand will continue to charge ahead with 8 percent growth in its steel demand over 2024 and 2025. It will be driven by continued growth in all steel-using sectors and especially by continued strong growth in infrastructure investments.
 
The EU, including the UK, remains the region currently facing the biggest challenges. The region and its steel-using sectors will be tested on a multitude of fronts – geopolitical shifts and uncertainty, high inflation, monetary tightening and partial withdrawal of fiscal support, as well as still high energy and commodity prices.

The persistence of these downside factors resulted in a major drop in the region’s steel demand in 2023 to the lowest level since 2000 and to substantial downward revisions of the forecast for this year. After only a technical rebound in 2024, the region’s steel demand is expected to finally show a meaningful recovery with a 5.3 percent growth in 2025.