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LONDON: Global steel demand is likely to grow 0.4% to 1.84 billion tonnes this year, slowing from a 2.7% gain in 2021, hit by the uncertain outlook created by the conflict in Ukraine and rising, the World Steel Association (WorldSteel) said on Thursday.

“The expectation of a continued and stable recovery from the pandemic has been shaken by the war in Ukraine and rising inflation,” WorldSteel said.

“The impact will also be felt globally via higher energy and commodity prices – especially raw materials for steel production – and continued supply chain disruptions, which were troubling the global steel industry even before the war.”

Demand in China, which accounts for about half of global steel consump

tion, is now expected to remain flat this year, the association said. “There are further downside risks from the continued surge in virus infections in some parts of the world, especially China, and rising interest rates,” it said. Steel demand in the developed world is forecast to increase by 1.1% and 2.4% in 2022 and 2023 respectively after recovering by 16.5% in 2021, WorldSteel said.

“Our forecast assumes that the confrontation in Ukraine will come to an end in the course of 2022 but the sanctions on Russia will largely remain.” WorldSteel expects steel demand globally to grow 2.2% to more than 1.88 billion tonnes.

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