South Korea’s domestic demand for steel is forecast to hit the lowest level in 11 years in 2020 due to the fallout from the coronavirus outbreak, a trade body said Thursday.
The Korea Iron & Steel Association said domestic steel demand is likely to reach the 48 million-ton range this year, down around 8 percent from 53.2 million tons a year earlier, as manufacturing, construction and other key industries were stung by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The figure is projected to be the lowest since the country’s steel demand tumbled to 45.4 million tons in 2019 from 58.6 million tons the previous year in the wake of the global financial crisis.
Since beginning to increase again in 2010, domestic steel demand had been hovering above the 50-million-ton mark over the past 10 years.
Industry sources said domestic steel demand is expected to remain in the 50-million-ton level next year due mainly to sluggish demand for the shipbuilding industry.
The association also predicted South Korea’s exports of steel products to reach up to 29 million tons this year due to the coronavirus impact, falling below the 30-million-ton level for the first time in seven years.
In the first 10 months of the year, South Korea’s steel exports shrank 16 percent from the same period a year earlier.