Asia To Lead Boost In Steel Output

World steel production is set to increase by 7.5% this year, with a growing proportion of output from Asia, in particular from Chinese plants, a report from steel consultancy MEPS said Aug. 15.

Production is forecast to reach 1.215 billion tons, and this will be the fifth consecutive year that world steel production has exceeded 5%. "A number of factors are at work driving such rapid growth. Firstly, strong real demand continues in many important developing/emerging countries. Inventory rebuilding has also occurred in several industrialized nations after the production cuts in 2005," says MEPS. "Finally, rising raw material input costs have prompted customers to order in advance of steel price hikes -- creating an exaggerated market for steel products."

Asian crude steel production is expected to climb to 649 million tons in 2006, equating to a rise of almost 11% in the 12-month period. "China dominates steel output growth in the region. We anticipate steel production rising by 16.5% to reach 407.5 million tons this year," the report says.

Steel output in the EU is expected to reach 193.5 million tons -- an increase of approximately 3.8%. Crude steel output in Western Europe (excluding the EU) is predicted to expand by 10% in 2006.
USSR productions will hit 117.5 million tons this year, a 4.2% increase.

North American steel production is now forecast to reach 132.5 million tons in 2006 - up 5.6%.

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2006

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