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Business

World steel demand expected to rise

World steel producers are seeing a growing demand for steel amid signs of a global economic recovery. At their annual industry meeting in Sao Paulo, they predicted stronger markets but also fiercer competition.

Global steel consumption was expected to grow 3.1 percent this year, up from weaker demand of 2 percent in 2012, according to an industry report released at the annual meeting of global steelmakers in Sao Paulo, Brazil, on Monday.

The World Steel Association, a group of 170 steel producers, said production in 2013 was rising to 1.475 billion tons, and was expected to grow another 3.3 percent next year to reach 1.52 billion tons.

On Tuesday, Jürgen Kerkhoff, chairman of the body's Economics Committee, said in a statement that global steel demand was continuing to recover as advanced economies were returning to growth.

At the same time, however, steel consumption in China was slowing, he added, slumping from 6 percent growth this year to 3 percent in 2014.

Nevertheless, the industry was upbeat, Kerkhoff said, because steel demand was recovering in Europe. In Germany, for example, a decline in steel consumption of 1.6 percent this year would be offset by growth of about 3 percent next year, he added.

As far as production conditions were concerned, the steelmakers' association noted in its report that the industry was still struggling with overcapacity and differences in productivity amid intensifying competition.

uhe/kms (dpa, AFP)