Global steel demand to return to growth in 2024, says World Steel

LONDON (Reuters) -Global steel demand is expected to rise by 1.7% to 1.793 billion metric tons in 2024 and to increase further in 2025, the World Steel Association said on Tuesday.

The association expects India to be the main driver of demand growth as Chinese demand continues to decline.

After two years of decline and severe post-pandemic market volatility, there are signs of global steel demand “settling in a growth trajectory in 2024 and 2025”, the industry group’s statement said.

Global demand in 2025 is expected to rise by 1.2% to 1.815 billion tons, it said.

Apparent steel use in China, the world’s top producer and consumer of the metal, fell by 3.3% in 2023 and is expected to be steady in 2024 as a decline in real estate investment is offset by growth from infrastructure investment and manufacturing sectors, the association said.

It expects China’s steel demand decline by 1% in 2025, remaining significantly lower than its 2020 peak.

India, however, has emerged as the strongest driver of steel demand growth since 2021.

The association expects Indian demand to grow by 8% over 2024 and 2025.

Demand in Europe, which has been challenged by high inflation and tighter monetary policy, is expected to show very modest growth this year before a 5.3% projected gain in 2025.

Meanwhile, strong investment activity will bring U.S. demand back to growth this year after a drop caused by a housing market slowdown in 2023, the association said.

(Reporting by Polina DevittEditing by David Goodman)