Steeled for growth


Brussels, Belgium —World crude-steel production increased by 5.9% in 2005, rising to 1.129-million metric tons (mmt), according to the International Iron and Steel Institute. China accounted for most of the increase. China’s crude steel production rose by nearly 25%, or 69 mmt, to 349,4 mmt.

China’s share of the world production rose from 26.3% in 2004 to 30.9% in 2005. In 2005 it became clear that China’s production was outstripping demand, and the market was over-supplied. China’s government intends to close inefficient and uneconomic capacity, and concentrate more output within several large companies.

In Japan, weaker public-sector steel-demand was offset by an improving private sector. Last year’s crude steel production of 112.5 mmt was virtually unchanged from 2004’s level. India’s strong economic growth provided underpinned a 16.7% (5.5 mmt) growth in the country’s steel output. Indian production totaled 38.1 mmt in 2005. Asia’s total output rose by 14.8% to 583.8 million tons, more than 50% of the world total.

A consolidated, North American steel-industry was able to reduce production to meet demand through 2005, while the high inventories built-up in the marketplace during 2004 were liquidated. The region’s output fell by 7 mmt, or 5.3%, to 127 mmt.

Brazil also saw inventory liquidation impacting output; it was down 3.9% at 31.6 mmt. Despite 4.8% growth in Argentina and 8.4% in Venezuela, South America’s 2005 total was down 1.2%, at 45.3 mmt.

Europe’s market was also plagued by high inventories. Some producers’ cutbacks reduced EU output by 3.6%, to 186.5 mmt. CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) production was steady at 112.9 mmt.

Double digit growth rates in Egypt and Libya took Africa’s total output to 17.9%, a 7.1% increase. Rising output in both Iran, up 8.3%, and Saudi Arabia, up 7.3%, provided a similar growth rate for the Middle East.

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Richard Phelps , senior editor, Control Engineering

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