Because of the critical role played by steel in infrastructural and overall economic development, the steel industry is often considered to be an indicator of economic progress.
The economic boom in China and India has caused a massive increase in the demand for steel in recent years. Between 2000 and 2005, world steel demand increased by 6%. Since 2000, several Indian and Chinese steel firms have risen to prominence like Tata Steel (which bought Corus Group in 2007), Shanghai Baosteel Group Corporation and Shagang Group. ArcelorMittal is however the world's largest steel producer.
The British Geological Survey reports that in 2005, China was the top producer of steel with about one-third world share followed by Japan, Russia, and the USA.
In 2008, steel will be traded as a commodity in the London Metal Exchange.
China produced 220.1 million tonnes in 2003, 272.2 million tonnes in 2004 and 349.36 million tonnes in 2005. That is much above the production in 2005 of Japan at 112.47 million tonnes, the USA at 93.90 million tonnes and Russia at 66.15 million tonnes.
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