The British steel forecasting firm MEPS estimates global steel output this year to reach 1,176 million tons, a 4.1% increase over 2005 production. The majority of the steel output improvement will take place in China and India.

MEPS estimates that 85% of the increase in global crude steel output will be supplied from the Asian continent, with Chinese mills responsible for almost 80% of the total, despite the anticipated slowdown in the rate of growth in steelmaking in the country in 2006, compared to recent years.

According to MEPS, steel makers around the world are exercising a degree of control in output in response to the price decreases witnessed in 2005 when customers reduced inventory after the excesses of 2004. In many countries this action has stimulated prices and in a number of cases has revived demand on the mills.

North American crude steel output is expected to increase by about 2% this year in comparison to 2005. Most of the improvement is expected to occur from the integrated producers.