Global steel body hikes demand forecasts, but says risks remain

TOKYO (Reuters) – The World Steel Association on Tuesday doubled its 2018 and 2019 forecasts for growth in global demand for the material used in everything from cars to construction, but said that trade tensions were clouding the outlook for the sector. The caution over trade from a body that represents 85 percent of global steel will stoke concerns that the tit-for-tat tariff dispute between the United States and China is undermining global growth, especially after the International Monetary Fund last week downgraded its economic forecasts. “Global steel demand faces uncertainty from tensions in the global economic environment,” the association, commonly known as worldsteel, said in a statement issued at its annual general assembly, this year held in Tokyo. The steel industry, worth about $900 billion a year, is seen as a gauge of world economic health. Worldsteel represents more than 160 steelmakers. Steel demand is expected to rise 1.4 percent next year to 1.681 billion tonnes, worldsteel said. That is double the 0.7 percent growth it forecast in April. Still, that would mark a slowdown from the 3.9 percent growth in appetite expected for 2018, to 1.658 billion tonnes, driven by the world’s biggest consumer, China. In April, worldsteel… continue reading

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