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Global steel producers were prolific in 2010, with worldwide output reaching a record 1,414 million metric tons (mmt). According to the World Steel Association (WSA), that represented an average production increase of more than 15% from 2009, when the poor global economy had pushed steel demand down to levels not seen since before the turn of the century.
And, based on recent economic and industry forecasts, both production and demand are expected to continue rising for all of 2011 – which bodes well for investors looking to turn hard metals into solid profits.
The WSA forecasts finished steel consumption in 2011 will rise 5.3% to nearly 1,340 mmt – in spite of the fact that steel prices have reached near-record levels in recent months, climbing in January to more than $800 per ton of hot-rolled coil steel, the industry's base product unit.