Professional article METEC: The world steel industry on a path to recovery (short version)

“Historic high” in sight METEC 2011, the world’s leading fair, is a major contributor to the upturn

“The world steel industry now seems firmly set on a path to recovery,” explains Daniel Novegil, Chairman of the Economics Committee of the World Steel Association (worldsteel) in Brussels. According to the latter’s short-range outlook (SRO) published in April 2010, steel consumption would increase by about 11 per cent to over 1.2 million megatonnes in 2010 (the next SRO was to follow in mid-October 2010). This would be roughly equal to the 2007 figure. In 2011, consumption is even expected to rise to a “historic high” of 1.3 million megatonnes (plus 5.3 per cent). At their meeting in Beijing, the worldsteel Economics Committee attributed the positive forecasts to the unexpectedly swift recovery of ascendant countries like China.

German steel processors also appear to be benefiting from the upturn. In the first six months of 2010, for instance, steel companies produced almost 23 million tonnes of crude steel, 64 per cent more than in the same period of the previous year. “After months of economic gloom in the aftermath of the financial crisis, business has been recovering on a broader front since the beginning of the year 2010, even if economic trends are still fragile,” stressed Hans-Jürgen Kerkhoff, President of the German Steel Association.

A global increase in demand for steel due to the improvement in overall economic conditions has also been observed by ThyssenKrupp Steel Europe AG. In the first nine months of its past business year (starting 1 October 2009), the company recorded a 47 per cent increase in orders over the previous year. “The ordered quantities almost doubled, and capacity utilisation is back to a good level,” Executive Board member Dr. Jost A. Massenberg reports.

Since the beginning of 2010, orders for German manufacturers of machines for metallurgical plants and rolling mills have also been on the rise. Referring to the emerging economies, Dr. Gutmann Habig, Managing Director of the VDMA Metallurgical Plants and Rolling Mills Association, explains: “Powerful surges in crude steel and aluminium production are expected here in 2011. The focus is on Brazil, Russia, India and China.”

Manufacturers of machines and equipment for metallurgical plants and rolling mills see METEC 2011 in Düsseldorf (28.6. to 2.7.2011), the world’s leading metallurgical fair, as a positive factor. Winfried Resch, VDMA spokesman: “For our sector, this is a globally leading trade fair that points the way forward.”

Tania Vellen und Corinna Kuhn
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