LONDON:Global steel demand will fall again this year as leading market China continues to slow, before eventually stabilising in 2017, the World Steel Association forecast on Wednesday.
Falling demand has plunged the global steel market into crisis, with excess capacity taking a heavy toll on producers - including China - leading to plant closures and job losses.
Global apparent steel use - deliveries minus net exports of steel industry goods - is expected to fall 0.8 percent in 2016 to 1.488 billion tonnes after a 3 percent fall last year, according to Worldsteel.
China's steel demand is seen falling 4 percent this year to 654.4 million tonnes and a further 3 percent in 2017, after a slide of 5.4 percent in 2015, the group added.
China, which produces about half the world's steel, is under increasing international pressure to tackle a supply glut that has flooded world markets with cheap material.
Europe has taken a huge hit from the market slide. Tata Steel has put its UK business up for sale after substantial losses over the past two years.
"The global steel market is suffering from insufficient investment expenditure and continued weakness in the manufacturing sector," Worldsteel Director General Edwin Basson told a briefing in London.
"In 2016, while we are forecasting another year of contraction in steel demand in China, slow but steady growth in other regions including NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement countries) and EU is expected."
Next year, however, global demand of the key industrial metal is due to edge up by 0.4 percent to 1.494 billion tonnes, Worldsteel added.