Steel as an economic indicator

A worker prepares molten iron in the first stage of making steel at the Sendzimir steel plant in Nowa Huta, Poland.

TEXT OF STORY

STEVE CHIOTAKIS: Steelmaking giant ArcelorMittal reported $780 million loss last year. And yet, the company says this year will be a good one. The company's balance sheet has broader implications to you and me -- and the U.S. economy.

From London, reporter Christopher Werth has more.


CHRISTOPHER WERTH: The losses at ArcelorMittal are partly a result of the selling off of a stainless steel division last year, and a reflection of the rising cost of the materials to make steel -- like iron ore. In 2009 as the global economy as was at a standstill, demand for steel plunged. But last year saw an increase of production of 15 percent, one of the highest increases in half a century.

David Bailey is with Coventry University. He says most of that demand is coming from emerging markets.

DAVID BAILEY: Really it's a kind of an indicator of broad economic growth, and what this is telling us is we are seeing growth in parts of the world. But we haven't got back to where we were a couple of years ago.

But ArcelorMittal is more than just an individual company. It's an indicator in and of itself. The company accounts for 7 percent of the world's steel, so any increase in sales could mean big things for the global recovery.

In London, I'm Christopher Werth for Marketplace.

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