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EU holds back world steel demand growth

Europe – Significantly reduced usage in the EU will contribute towards a marked slow-down in global steel demand this year, according to the latest short-range outlook issued by the World Steel Association (WSA).

The impact of the Euro-zone debt crisis on economic activity will cut apparent steel use in the EU-27 by an estimated 5.6% in 2012, with Spain and Italy deemed likely to record declines of, respectively, 11.9% and 12.6%. The association also predicts that demand across the EU-27 will improve 2.4% next year.

Noting that world demand leapt 6.2% in 2011, the WSA forecasts that global apparent steel use will increase by 2.1% in 2012 and by a further 3.2% next year to yield a new record-high total of 1.455 billion tonnes – thanks in part to demand hikes in China of, in turn, 2.5% and 3.1% to 659.2 million tonnes.

The WSA’€™s Economics Committee Chairman Hans Jürgen Kerkhoff comments: ‘€˜The economic situation deteriorated during the second quarter of this year due to continued uncertainty arising from the debt crisis in the Euro-zone and a sharper-than-expected slow-down in China.’

‘However, we expect the situation to gradually improve in 2013 on the basis that the Euro-zone crisis can be contained, the US successfully deals with the fiscal tightening due in 2013 and the economic stimuli measures secure a soft landing in China,’ remarks Mr Kerkhoff.

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