On the day that Arcelor CEO Lakshmi Mittal talked of a glimmer of hope the ISSB have reported that Steel exports from the world’s top ten exporting countries fell by 41% between July and November 2008. According to figures released by the Iron and Steel Statistics Bureau (ISSB). Steel shipments fell from 24.7 million tonnes in July to 14.6 million tonnes in November 2008.
Mr Mittal said Steel production probably will fall as far as it's going to by the end of March. Many in the industry would think this an optimistic view, as particularly in Europe, I have yet to speak with anyone in the steel industry who has any optimism about any improvement this year.
Against this background it looks even more bizarre that China continues to increase steel production as reported earlier this week.
With order intake below 50% at most service centres and cold rollers, unemployment growing and consumer spending falling it's hard to see any "green shoots" at the moment.
Maybe economic activity in China is beginning to revive, I would love to see one of the worlds industrial superpowers lead us out of recession, but I am not going to be betting any of my reduced salary on it.
We will get through this, but I am not optimistic that it is going to be any time soon.