LUXEMBOURG (AP) -- ArcelorMittal SA, the world's largest steelmaker, said Friday it is temporarily cutting European steel output by 15 percent because of lower demand and uncertainty surrounding the fallout from the financial turmoil.
ArcelorMittal spokesman Arne Langner said they will cut production "temporarily until the situation becomes better again."
Europe is the company's largest market and pays the highest price for steel, used to make cars and construct buildings. But the region is facing a sharp slowdown as customers hold back spending and exports fall. The 15-nation euro area is expected to barely grow at all next year.
Langner said Arcelor is seeing "an overall drop in demand but (especially in) the car industry and construction."
He said ArcelorMittal remained "confident in our growth strategy for 2008" which relies on growth in emerging economies such as Brazil, Russia and the Middle East. The company sees the global steel sector expanding "by between 3 and 5 percent. That doesn't change."
ArcelorMittal is planning to increase steel shipments by more than a fifth over the next four years to win customers in fast-growing economies that are calling for more steel.
The Luxembourg-based business produces about 10 percent of the world's steel.