February raw steel production across the 63 nations trailed January output by 5 with China continuing to hold its considerable margin over all other countries However global capacity utilization rose 4 for the month

February raw steel production across the 63 nations trailed January output by -5%, with China continuing to hold its considerable margin over all other countries. However, global capacity utilization rose 4% for the month.

Global Steel Output Fell in February

China tonnage up almost 10%, y-o-y Japan, South Korea off the ’12 pace Capacity utilization up over January

Global raw steel production fell -5.0% during February, with a total of 123,258 million metric tons trailing the January output of 129,779 million metric tons. The result for 63 steelmaking countries is reported by the World Steel Association, which noted that the February output showed a year-on-year increase of 1.2% compared to February 2012.

“Raw” or crude steel is the term that describes the product of electric arc furnaces and basic oxygen furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. The Brussels-based World Steel Assn.’s monthly report totals the global carbon and carbon alloy steel output; Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

As usual, China’s raw steel production led all other nations’ output for February, reaching was 61.8 million metric tons, a decline of -2.8% from January’s total of 63,622 million metric tons. More notable, the February result topped China’s February 2012 output by 9.8%.

Japan, which ranks second to China among the world’s highest-volume steel producing nations, had a February raw-steel production total of 8.317 million metric tons of raw steel. That result was nearly even with the January total of 8.315 million metric tons. However, the current month trails the comparable figure for February 2012 by -3.4%.

South Korea’s steelmakers produced 4.981 million metric tons of raw steel during February, -13.4% less than during January (5.752 million metric tons), and a decrease of -8.5% versus the February 2012 total.

EU and U.S. results

In the European Union, the 27 member nations produced 13,384 million metric tons of raw steel during February. That total placed the shorter month just barely ahead of January’s total, 13,661 million metric tons, but it was –5.6% off the pace set by February 2012.

Germany, the largest-volume producer in the EU, had a raw steel output totaling 3.447 million in February, -3.8% less than during January, -3.7% less than during February 2012.

Italy, the EU’s second-largest producer, had raw steel output of 2.123 million metric tons, improving on January’s result (1.801 million metric tons) by 17.8%, but -15.0% off-pace compared to the February 2012 result.

France’s raw steel production was 1.3 million metric tons, a decrease of -0.8% on February 2012.

Other large steelmaking nations in the EU include Spain, which produced 1.2 million metric tons during February, -1.7% lower than February 2012; and Turkey, which produced 2.7 million metric tons last month, -3.9% compared to February 2012.

U.S. steelmakers produced 6.655 million metric tons of raw steel in February 2013, a -9.6% decline from the January total of 7.362 million metric tons. The new total is off the February 2012 result by -11.8%.

The February 2013 raw steel output in Brazil was 2.629 million metric tons, declining -6.8% from January, and falling -6.2% versus the February 2012 result.

Also, World Steel reported that global raw steel capacity utilization rate rose to 80.5% during February, up from 76.7% during January, but slightly off (-0.8%) the February 2012 utilization rate of 81.3%.  Each month the group calculates the raw steel capacity utilization rate according to its own research, using data that’s publicly available and updated twice each year, and verified through the member companies.

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