Global Steel Output Inching Upward for 2014

Global Steel Output Inching Upward for 2014

Slower output among larger producing nations at midyear, but totals in line with forecasts China is half the story E.U. encouragement   U.S. in slow-growth mode

Global raw steel production declined nearly 3% from May to June, totaling 137.1 million metric tons, bringing total production for the first half of 2014 to 821,349,000 metric tons, 2.5% above the volume for the first half of 2014.  The first half results are remarkable for slower growth in Asia but more solid results from the European Union, where the rebound in industrial activity seems to have taken hold after the financial instability of the past two years.

China topped all other nations’ output with roughly half of all raw steel produced during June, as well as during the first half of 2014. China’s June output was 69.3 million metric tons, down 1.6% from May but up by 4.5% compared to June 2013. For the first half, China has produced 411.9 million metric tons, up 3.0% from the January-June 2013 results.

Data for production and capacity utilization for raw (or crude) steel in 65 countries is maintained by the Brussels-based World Steel Assn., which reports the results monthly basis. Raw steel is the primary output 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 World Steel Assn.’s results include data for carbon and carbon alloy steel output. Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

In April, World Steel forecast that global raw steel production for 2014 would hit 1.527 billion metric tons, or 3.15% more than 2013’s total.

The June total of 137 million metric tons counts as a year-on-year increase of 3.1%.

As always, China topped all other nations’ output with roughly half of all raw steel produced during June, as well as during the first half of 2014. China’s June output was 69.3 million metric tons, down 1.6% from May but up by 4.5% compared to June 2013. For the first half, China has produced 411.9 million metric tons, up 3.0% from the January-June 2013 results.

Japan’s steelmakers produced 9.1 million metric tons of raw steel during June, a decrease of 5.9% from May and 1.7% from June 2013. During the first half of this year, Japan posted a total of 55.225 million metric tons, up just 0.9% versus the first-half total of 2013.

India’s total during June was 6.7 million metric tons, an increase of 5.2 over May’s result but just a 0.8% increase over June 2013. The January-June total for India is 41.3 million metric tons, or 1.4% increase over the same period last year.

South Korean steelmakers produced 6.0 million metric tons of raw steel during June, a decrease of 4.9% from May but a 10.8% increase over June 2013. For the first six months of 2014, South Korean steelmakers produced 36.1 million metric tons of steel, a 9.1% increase over the comparable period of 2013

Germany, Italy Prove EU Rebound

Steelmakers across the E.U. totaled 14.2 million metric tons, down 5.6% from May, but the region has produced 87.4 million metric tons during the first half of 2014, 3.8% more than during January-June 2013.

Germany, the largest steelmaking nation in Europe, produced 3.6 million metric tons of raw steel during June, down 8.7% from May and just a slight increase (0.6%) compared to June 2013. However, the first half of 2014 saw a total of 22.5 million metric tons produced, 4.2% more than during the first half of 2013.

Italy produced 2.1 million metric tons of raw steel during June, which was 7.7% less than during May and 3.7% less than during June 2013. The first half saw Italian steelmakers produced 13.1 million metric tons, 3.0% more than during the first six months of 2013.

Other steelmaking nations in Europe also gained ground: France’s raw steel production was 1.4 million metric tons, up 1.6% over June 2013; Spain produced 1.3 million metric tons of raw steel, up by 6.0% compared to June 2013.

North American raw steel production during June declined 3.6% from May but improved 1.7% from June 2013. The year-to-date total for the North American region — which includes Canada, Mexico, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Trinidad, as well as the U.S. — is 59.7 million metric tons, or 1.7% more than during January-June 2013.

U.S. steelmakers produced 7.2 million metric tons of raw steel in June 2014, down 3.2% from May, but up 1.9% from June 2013. For the first half of 2014, the U.S. steel industry produced 43.5 million metric tons of raw steel, just 0.9%more than during the first half of 2013.

In addition to the steel tonnage, World Steel reported that the June raw steel capacity utilization was 78.3%, even with the previous month and down 0.1% from June 2013.

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