Chinese steel production continues its inexorable rise in 2012. The outcome is expected to reach 760Mt, up 5.5% up on the out turn in the previous year. The three main drivers are increasesin manufacturing, infrastructure investment and housing.

Further, but more modest growth in steel demand is anticipated for the next five years pushing up production of steel to 895Mt in2016. The future percentage rate of expansion in steelmaking is forecast to be slower than in the recent past.

The rate of growth in steel output in India is starting to slow but will be recorded at a new all-time high in 2012. The, year-on-year, expansion is expected to be just 3%, whereas in the past decade thefigure has been close to 10%. Reasonable demand for housing and infrastructure will remain into the future leading to solid requirement for steel to 2016.

The recovery of the Japanese steel sector from the 2009 global economic crisis was abruptly halted in 2011 by the March earthquake and tsunami. Modest growth in steel production is predicted in 2012 and beyond as reconstruction in the affected region takes place. The economy is slowly improving but exports are proving difficult to obtain. Steel output should continue to expand but in 2016 is likely to bebelow the boom year of 2007.

A new peak steel production level will be achieved in 2012 in South Korea. Domestic demand has not increased significantly but the country’s dependence upon imports of semi-finished products has been greatly reduced. Steel output is expected to increase marginally in 2013, and beyond. More new capacity is likely to come on stream next year; lifting domestic supply further. A slowdown in the rate ofgrowth in steelmaking is anticipated in 2014 to 2016.

After adjusting for Chinese under-reporting, Asian total output of raw steel in 2011 was in excess of one billion tonnes. This represents almost 65% of global production. In comparison, the figure ten years earlier was 42%.

Source: Global Iron & Steel Making - A five year forecast to 2016- A new report from MEPS