It is no secret that industrial gas plays a figurative role in the steel and metallurgy sectors. Indeed, in terms of importance it really can be dubbed the ‘silver sector’.

With that in mind, new short range forecasts by The World Steel Association, predicting record highs for this end-user segment, are nothing but a cause for celebration.

Just yesterday, the World Steel Association predicted global steel demand to rise to a record 1,441 billion tons next year. Moreover, demand in emerging countries during 2012 is expected to be well above pre-crisis levels. When delivering the announcement, Daniel Novegil, Chairman of the worldsteel Economics Committee explained that predictions are based on stable and steady recovery of the world economy.

A breakdown of results reveals disparities between geographical economies. According to the association, steel use will increase by 5.9% globally during 2011 and a further 6% in the subsequent 2012. Though 2012 will see steel use in the developed world 14% below 2007 levels, emerging and developing economies portray a far better picture, with growth 38% above pre-crisis levels.

Temperance in China
Based on the Association findings, steel use in China will increase by 5% to 605 million metric tons (mmt) in 2011. Following on from this, the Chinese government’s efforts to cool down the overheating economy, particularly in the real estate sector, will impact Chinese steel demand later in the year. Consequently, steel demand is expected to remain at 5% growth in 2012, bringing the country’s apparent steel use to 635 mmt.

Strength in India
Meanwhile, prediction regarding India shows strong growth across steel use in the coming years due to the country’s strong domestic economy, infrastructural need and expansion in industrial production. Forecasts suggest that India’s steel use will grow by 13.3% in 2011, and a further 14.3% in 2012.

Central and South American potential
This region is anticipated to enjoy substantial growth in steel production. In fact, by 2012, steel consumption will appreciate by 8.3% to 52.8 mmt; almost 30% higher than pre-crisis levels of 2007.

Earlier this year our resident technical expert, Tony Wheatley, discussed the significance of steel to industrial gases fortunes in our January feature, ‘Steel and Industrial Gas’. During which he explained the pivotal function of oxygen in the steel sector. Indeed, over 50% of industrial oxygen consumption across the world is consumed by steelmaking. Consequently, if The World Steel Association growth predictions are realised, we can look forward to an equally positive knock-on effect in the industrial gas sector.