Demand for steel in the Mena region will nudge 0.6 per cent higher to 72.4 million metric tonnes (mt) this year, said S&P Global Platts, citing a Worldsteel report.
Global steel demand will increase 0.2 per cent to a little more than 1.501 billion (mt) in 2016, according to the World Steel Association's short range outlook.
Looking to 2017, Worldsteel expects a further 0.5 per cent increase in world demand to just over 1.509 billion mt.
Worldsteel director general Edwin Basson said the projections were "as good as we can expect" under current economic and political conditions. "We're optimistic in the sense that the market is not falling any further," Basson said Tuesday morning during a news conference at the association's annual meeting in Dubai.
The industry's positive forecast comes on the heels of a 3 per cent decline in 2015, when global demand totalled more than 1.498 billion mt, according to Worldsteel. Last year Chinese demand contracted 5.4 per cent, and experienced a much more modest decline of 1 per cent this year - down from Worldsteel's estimate of a 4 per cent fall.
China's share of consumption has fallen from 48 per cent at its peak to 43 per cent, "so its impact is less than five years back," T V Narendran, head of Worldsteel's economics committee, said.
"The world excluding China consumes more steel than China, and the rest of the world is growing, he added. The decline in Russia, at 3.6 per cent, was also less than previously anticipated.
Worldsteel forecast a 10.4 per cent decline for Central and South American consumption, with Brazil contracting by more than 14 per cent, substantially more than anticipated.
European Union demand will rise 0.8 per cent this year, while NAFTA will see a dip of 0.1 per cent -
Narendran said downside risk remained high amid uncertainty caused by a slowing Chinese property market and Brexit.