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Top 5 Steel Companies in the World The chair you’re sitting in right now probably contains steel, just like the building over your head does and the appliances used to make last night’s dinner. Steel is one of the most commonly used materials in the world and has been since the mid-1800’s when bulk production became possible and the modern steel industry was launched. Today, the world has over 3,500 different grades of steel and about 75 percent of them were developed during the past two decades.
The demand for steel production has long been a measurement of economic progress. For example, this decade has seen China, India, Russia, and Brazil become more industrialized and urbanized, giving rise to the need for steel and resulting in it becoming the metal trade’s biggest and most progressive industry. World crude steel production added up to 116 million metric tons in November 2011 alone, based on information supplied by 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association.
The World Steel Association (worldsteel) is a non-profit organization founded in 1967 to promote and support the steel industry to customers, media and the general public as well as to the many individuals comprising its own industry. Headquartered in Brussels, Belgium, its membership represents about 85 percent of global steel production. Included are approximately 170 steel producers, steel industry associations, and institutions focused on steel research and advancement.
A ranking of the world’s top five steel producers is compiled annually by worldsteel. The most current findings In 2011 identify the following companies as global steel leaders based on their crude steel output in 2010.
ArcelorMittal is the result of a merger between Arcelor and Mittal Steel, and though it has only been in existence since 2006, it has has far exceeded the competition to become the world’s largest steel producing company. With an astounding output of 98.2 million metric tons of crude steel in 2010, it made significant contributions to the construction, automotive, household appliance and packing industries. ArcelorMittal is headquartered in Luxembourg, Germany and employs over 250,000 people worldwide.
Based in Shanghai, China, and state-owned, Baosteel employs approximately 109,000 people who make a wide variety of high-end metal goods, especially products from iron and steel. They produced 37 million metric tons of crude steel during 2010. Engineering, coal, and finance comprise their other business interests and they have seven subsidiaries. Future plans include expansion into Hong Kong and the South China providence of Guangdong.
The Pohang Iron and Steel Company (POSCO)
The world’s third-largest steel company is located in South Korea and closely trails its nearest competitor by producing 35.4 million metric tons of crude steel in 2010. It is a major supplier of steel metal to the automotive and shipbuilding industries in Korea, and boasts the largest market value among all steel-producing metal companies around the globe. It has more than 28,000 employees.
Nippon Steel is headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, and is the result of a 1970 union between metal monsters Yawata Iron and Steel and Fuji Iron and Steel. The company has over 52,000 employees and the 2010 crude steel output totaled 35 million metric tons. It was announced on December 14, 2011 that a $22.5 billion merger between Nippon and Sumitomo Metal Industries was approved by the Japan Fair Trade Commission. The merger is planned to take place on October 1, 2012 and will yield the world’s number two steelmaker with plans to speed up expansion amid the growth markets in Asia.
Also based in Tokyo, JFE Holdings was created in 2002 after Kawasaki Steel and Nihon Kōkan Kabushiki-gaisha (NKK) merged. Their 2010 crude steel production was 31.1 million metric tons. They have over 56,000 employees, and while their primary business is metal, they are also engaged in the logistics, chemical, engineering and construction industries. They own several overseas metal trade subsidiaries including California Steel, Minas da Serra Geral of Brazil and Fujian Sino-Japan Metal in China.
The October 2011 Short Range Outlook released by worldsteel forecasts that the demand for steel will jump by 5.4 percent in 2012, indicating that infrastructure and product modernization of steel buildings is on course to continue its worldwide trek thus lowering the prices for steel buildings.