b'1.3 Storm clouds on the horizonfor global steelBut for now, continued growth is foreseenExpertsdifferonthenumbers,buttheGlobalsteelproductionreached1.81 consensusappearstobethatglobalsteelbillion tons in 2018, up 4.6% over 2017, Peter Buxbaum, AJOT demand will continue to grow in 2019, al- according to figures released by the World This article was originally published onthough at a slower rate than in the last twoSteelAssociation.Steelproductionin-March 11, 2019 in issue #684 years. Steel demand grew by nearly four per- creased across the board last year, except in cent in 2018 but is expected to grow by lessJapan and the European Union, which each than one and a half percent this year. Thatsaw a contraction of a fraction of percent. In couldindicateaslowdownintheglobalthe EU, production out of Germany, France, economy, perhaps foretelling a recession inand Spain all dropped, while Italys was up matureeconomieswherethedecelerationby 1.7% over 2017. Production in the Mid-will be most pronounced. China, the worldsdleEastsawanincreaseof11.7percent, largest producer and consumer of steel, is awithIransproductionspikingby17.7% whole different ballgame.over 2017. The global picture differs by region. De- As far as demand goes, Worldsteels num-mand in China is expected to contract whilebers show 1.66 billion tons in 2018, an in-modestgrowthisexpectedinadvancedcrease of 3.9 percent over 2017. In 2019, its [chart 1.3-1] economies.SomeNorthAmericansteelforecast is that global steel demand will grow companiescontinuetoexpand,butU.S.by 1.4% to reach 1.68 billion tons. Note that Steel, for one, has raised an alarm bell overglobalproductionlastyearexceededde-its operations in Europe where falling pricesmand last year by 150 million tons.and rising costs have eaten into profits. In 2018, global steel demand continued Much of steels fate in 2019 will dependto show resilience supported by the recov-on macroeconomic indicators such as con- eryininvestmentactivitiesindeveloped sumer sentiment for vehicles, among othereconomies and the improved performance goods,andconstructionactivity.Mostex- of emerging economies, said Al Remeithi, pertsforeseeaslowdowninmaturemar- ChairmanoftheWorldsteelEconomics kets while emerging markets are expectedCommittee. While the strength of steel de-[chart 1.3-2] to show healthy demand growth this yearmandrecoveryseenin2017wascarried and next. Trends in vehicles sales, at leastover to 2018, risks have increased. Rising in more advanced economies, should raisetrade tensions and volatile currency move-a red flag for the global steel industry. ments are increasing uncertainty.10 THE UNCONTAINED www.theuncontained.com'