World crude steel production is expected to expand, markedly, in 2017. Steel demand has rebounded, this year, amid an improving economic climate. A revival in investment is underway in many countries. Moreover, we note a continued firm level of consumption.
MEPS has upgraded its prediction for steel output in China and the rest of the world. Global production is forecast to surpass 1.7 billion tonnes in 2017 – up by 5 percent, year-on-year. Outside China, the largest gains, are expected to be attributed to increased output in Iran, India and Turkey. These three countries have all recorded strong export sales, this year.
A healthy performance is noted in the developed economies, with a recovery in steel supply and demand, in the EU and United States. Steelmakers worldwide, particularly scrap-based producers, have been able to raise output due to a reduction in the volume of Chinese finished and semi-finished steel exports.
The outlook for steel production and consumption, in 2018, is broadly positive. However, MEPS predicts that the current growth levels are unsustainable in the long term. The recent upturn is largely cyclical and recovering from the lows witnessed in late 2015/early 2016. Steel demand growth is expected to weaken and the problems of structural overcapacity remain, largely, unresolved. Low capacity utilisation levels, in many countries, are likely to constrain mill profitability.