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New Delhi, April 19

THE International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI), a global think tank for the steel industry, said on Tuesday that total consumption of finished steel products in 2005 would cross the one-billion-tonne-mark for the first time in history.

Total world demand is forecast to grow by 3.7 per cent during 2005, an increase of 36 million tonnes (mt) compared to 2004. According to IISI, growth in China will be over 10 per cent, with consumption reaching 293 mt this year. IISI expects China to account for 29 per cent of total steel demand and nearly 80 per cent of the world growth in 2005. However, growth in the rest of the world would be around one per cent or 8 mt.

IISI expects apparent steel use to fall in several European countries and the US. Slower economic growth, combined with an adjustment to steel stocks, will cause the temporary decline.

IISI forecasts that the use of finished steel products will grow by 4.8 per cent and reach 1.05 billion tonnes in 2006. A recovery in the world's economic activity will guarantee growth in steel demand in a wider range of countries. In addition to the continuing growth of 9.2 per cent in China, the growth rates will be 9.4 per cent in Brazil, 6.2 per cent in West Asia and 6.4 per cent in India.

During 2005-06, the broad pattern of a small but positive real growth in steel demand will continue in industrialised countries. This will be combined with faster rates of growth in developing countries. China will remain the dominant influence in world steel demand.

(This article was published in the Business Line print edition dated April 20, 2005)
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