Monday, April 28, 2008

World steel boom boosts German steelmakers, jobs

German companies are riding the crest of a boom in world steel demand, with increased sales also helping propel big increases in the workforce, the first in 35 years in that industry in the country.
Hans Juergen Kerkhoff, president of the Steel Business Association, issued the figures at the Hanover Fair, the world’s top show of equipment for heavy industry.
“We’ve started this year with a lot of momentum,” he told reporters. “First-quarter output will probably turn out to be 13.5 million tonnes, the best quarter we have had in the period since 1990.”
In Germany, the industry employed 92,357 people at the end of last year, an annual gain of 1.4 percent and the first gain since 1973. Despite signs of economic crisis in the world, Kerkhoff forecast full-year German steel output would be 48.5 million tonnes, equal to that in 2007..
That is only a small fraction of total world output of crude steel, which last year was 1.343 billion tonnes, according to data from the International Iron and Steel Institute (IISI). He said the industry was being hurt by a sharp increase in costs of its raw materials. The price of coking coal had risen the most drastically. “Current price-lists suggest we face a tripling of costs compared to one year ago,” he said.

Original story The New European

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