Global crude steel production is on track to hit record highs this year and the next, largely driven by top producer China, where booming output and demand has overcome that of the recession-hit developed economies.
A government campaign to cut production in the world's top producer and consumer did not manage to reduce the forecasts for Chinese output of around 620 million tonnes to 630 million tonnes this year, up by 9-10 per cent from 2009, according to a Reuters report.
Analysts predict global steel production to be near or hit 1.4 billion tonnes this year, its highest ever and 4 per cent above the pre-crisis high of 1.345 billion tonnes in 2007, says the report.
China crude steel output fell on a monthly basis in August, down about 1.7 per cent from July after several provinces ordered mills to cut output as the country strives to meet a deadline to improve energy efficiency. However, the 425.8 million tonnes it achieved in the first eight months of the year was way above the 351.4 million tonnes recorded in the same period of 2008, when steel demand was booming.
According to the report, it was also up by more than 15 per cent from the same period of 2009 when the $500 billion a year steel industry went through one of the worst downturns in its history and nearly halved its production, while China increased it by over 13 per cent.
At the same time, however, global steel production is likely to reach a plateau over the next five years as a result of increasing environmental pressures, according to one of the world's top steelmakers.