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  • Writer's picturevishal wire

The rise of steel manufacturing around the world and its impact on economies and societies.


World steel production has been increasing significantly since the end of the 1990s, due to rapid economic growth in developing countries and a return to pre-crisis levels in developed countries . The impact on societies and economies has been profound, but not always positive. The most obvious impact of the rise of steel manufacturing is the loss of some steelmaking jobs in industrialized countries, while they are being created at higher rates in developing countries with lower labor costs.


A look at steel manufacturing

Steel is one of those old-world materials, but it plays a significant role in modern life. From bridges to smartphones, steel has become an integral part of our daily lives, which means that as a society we’re consuming more of it than ever before. But what does that mean for places like China or India? How are these developing countries now facing new challenges because they’re making more steel than they can use? And how does that affect us here at home? It’s time to take a look at how steel manufacturing impacts global markets.


A look at China's growing dominance

China is now one of the top producers and consumers of steel in the world, making it an instrumental player in global trade. However, China’s growing dominance in production may have a negative effect on other countries that make or use lots of steel, as they will be unable to compete with China’s low prices.


A look at Europe's shrinking role

The European Union produces only about half as much steel as it did in 1980, with every member state producing less than a decade ago. The main reason for that is economic: China has grown into an economic powerhouse over that period, and it now makes nearly twice as much steel as all 28 EU countries combined.


A look at other key players

China, USA, Germany, Japan and South Korea are leading producers of steel in tonnage terms, but it’s China that dominates in both output and consumption levels. It’s likely to be overtaken by India within a decade or so at current growth rates – India produces just 3% as much steel per capita as China but consumption is growing rapidly.


A look at Asian giants' expansion efforts

Southeast Asia’s economies have been growing rapidly, with countries like Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand and Indonesia seeing particularly strong development in recent years. One of those areas that’s seeing significant investment is industrial manufacturing, including heavy industry such as construction equipment and high-quality steel production.


What this means for the future

There are several factors in play that are driving up global demand for steel, including economic growth and urbanization. Driven by a combination of economic growth and urbanization in emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, Russia, South Africa, Turkey and Indonesia to name a few (though notably not the United States or Japan), global demand for steel is predicted to increase dramatically over time.

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