Steel consumption as an economic indicator | What do the global numbers tell us?



The state of a country’s economy is measured through variables known as macroeconomic indicators. They allow us to know the evolution of an economy over time and to infer future behaviour. In turn, there are direct and inverse correlations between these indicators.


For example, the higher the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita, the higher the HDI (Human Development Index), or the lower the GDP per capita, the lower the innovation at country level. Therefore, by analysing a variable or a group of variables, we can reach different conclusions.


One of the most representative groups of indicators are those relating to consumption. Countries with more developed economies will be able to consume more goods, while countries with less developed economies will not have the same possibility. There are indicators that analyse topics ranging from the consumption of raw materials to the consumption of technology.


Steel consumption is one of the most representative macroeconomic indicators of a country’s production level. Its net value is calculated as local production minus imports and minus exports. According to the WSA (World Steel Association), global demand for steel in 2022 will be around 1840 Mt (million tonnes), having increased by 0.4% compared to 2021. In 2023, it is expected to increase by 2.2%.


If we make a regional analysis, according to WSA data, we can see that the area of the world with the highest demand is Asia and Oceania (1336 Mt) followed by the EU (167 Mt), USMCA (144 Mt), Middle East (51 Mt), Central and South America (50 Mt), Russia and Ukraine (44 Mt) and Africa (40 Mt).


The difference between the Asia and Oceania region and the rest of the world is notorious, given that they account for 72% of global demand, with China and India being the main drivers of production Despite this, WSA projections estimate that, in relative terms, the African region will see the greatest increase in demand by 2023.


Economic development requires a set of raw materials and steel is a fundamental part of many production processes It can be found in machinery parts, vehicles, tools, construction parts, surface/thermal treatments, among others. Therefore, it can be considered a cross-cutting element in various sectors of the economy. Its consumption is synonymous with production and is therefore an elementary macroeconomic indicator that must be taken into account. It is undoubtedly a practice that will help us to understand the various growth trends throughout the world and when making decisions.

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