In its April 2018 Short Range Outlook (SRO), the World Steel Association (worldsteel) projected that global steel demand will grow by 1.8% year-on-year to 1.616 billion tonnes in 2018 and increase by another 0.7% year-on-year to 1.627 billion tonnes in 2019. In its report, worldsteel pointed out that steel demand in both developed and developing countries is benefiting from the favourable global economic momentum but it cautioned on the possible adverse impact from rising trade tensions.
All regions in the world, outside of China, are expected to see modest growth in steel demand. The EU will likely see a 2.0% year-on-year increase in steel demand this year to
165.6 million tonnes, and a small year-on-year increase of 0.8% to 166.9 million tonnes
in 2018. The three NAFTA countries, i.e. USA, Canada and Mexico, are expected to perform better, with steel demand rising by 3.0% year-on-year to 145.0 million tonnes in 2018, and by 1.6% year-on-year to 147.3 million tonnes in 2019.
The Central and South America region is forecast to register a high year-on-year steel consumption growth rate of 6.2% in 2018 to 43.5 million tonnes and the demand will further expand by 4.9% year-on-year to 45.6 million tonnes in 2019. The Middle East region is also expected to see solid growth in steel demand with consumption projected to grow by 4.6% year-on-year to 55.7 million tonnes in 2018 and by 3.7% year-on-year to 57.8 million tonnes in 2019.
As for Asia and Oceania, the region is projected to see a slight pick-up in steel demand in 2018, by 1.1% year-on-year to 1.071 billion tonnes, but demand will dip marginally, by 0.2% year-on-year to 1.070 billion tonnes in 2019. China, the dominant producer in the region and the world, is expected to see its steel demand staying flat year-on-year at 737 million tonnes in 2018, and then decline by 2% year-on-year to 722 million tonnes in 2019.
Among the other major steel producing countries in Asia, South Korea and Japan are expected to experience lethargic growth in steel demand in 2018 and 2019. South Korea’s steel demand is projected to increase by an identical rate of 1% in both the years, to 57.0 million tonnes and 57.5 million tonnes in 2018 and 2019 respectively. Japan’s steel demand growth projection is even more dismal, at 0.1% and 0.6% for the same two years respectively.
India, on the other hand, is expected to continue to register strong growth in steel demand, by 5.5% and 6.0% in 2017 and 2018 respectively. The country’s steel demand is projected to reach 97.5 million tonnes in 2019 and is poised to overtake the United States as the second largest steel consuming country in the world in another year or so.
For ASEAN-5 (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam), worldsteel noted that steel demand dipped in 2017 due to slow construction activity and destocking. It, however, expects steel demand in the five countries to regain growth momentum in 2018 and 2019, backed by infrastructure investment. The projected growth rates of 6.6% and 6.4% for 2018 and 2019 respectively make ASEAN-5 the top preforming region in the world, in terms of steel consumption year-on-year growth rate, for both the years.
At the upcoming 2018 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition in Jakarta, Indonesia, I will provide an update on the steel situation in ASEAN-6 when I present my report on “Performance of the ASEAN Iron and Steel Industry in 2017 and Outlook”. At the same event, representatives from the nine-member countries of SEAISI will also provide more in-depth information on the steel industry situation in their countries when they present their respective Country Reports. Additionally, there will also be presentations on the steel industry situation in China and India.
Make sure you do not miss out on the biggest steel event of the year in this region!
TAN AH YONG