During a brain-storming session at a major iron ore producing company in 2000 executives were trying to get a handle on what might be expected of China ten years hence. At that time, China was producing around 125 million tonnes of steel a year. After torturing the data for several hours over numerous cups of coffee, the consensus of the meeting was that steel production in China would probably rise to around 180 million tonnes a year before reaching a plateau. At the outside, it might reach 200 million tonnes. In the event, China produced 639 million tonnes of steel in 2010. The forecasters had been out by a factor of more than three.
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