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Steel billets, seen here on a run-out table after casting and before rolling, are used to form a range of commodity-grade and specialty bar, rod, and wire products.

Global Steel Output Moderating, Still Strong

Production declined 6.0% from October to November, but annual volume continued to expand, now up 4.3% YTD.

Steel production declined 6.0% from October to November, totaling 136.3 million metric tons in the latest total reported by the World Steel Assn. The new figure represents a 3.7% year-over-year increase, and brings the global raw-steel production total through November to 1.54 billion metric tons, a 4.3% year-to-date improvement.

World Steel reports raw-steel output and capacity utilization for 66 nations. Raw (or crude) steel is the product of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. The monthly report covers carbon and carbon alloy steels; data for production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are reported separately.

Global raw-steel capacity utilization slipped 2.2% from October, to 70.7% in November. That result is 1.5% higher than the November 2016 rate.

The world’s steel industry has regained a positive direction in recent months. In its latest short-term forecast, issued in October, World Steel projected total 2017 demand to rise slightly to 1.6 billion metric tons, with improved demand in China and the developed economies, less political and social instability in China and elsewhere, and more strength in the construction and machinery sectors.

World Steel Assn.Nov 2017 raw steel production table

The World Steel Assn. reported raw steel production for 66 countries was 136.3 million metric tons during November 2017, a 3.7% rise compared to November 2016.

Chinese raw-steel production rose to 66.2 million metric tons during November, up 2.2% from October and up 3.5% from November 2016. Through 11 months, Chinese steelmakers have produced 764.8 million metric tons of raw steel, putting the year-to-date production up 3.5% over last year’s January-November total.

In Japan, November raw-steel production fell 3.0% from October to 8.7 million metric tons, which is just barely higher (+0.96%) than the November 2016 output. For the year-to-date, Japan’s producers have cast 95.9 million metric tons of raw steel, which is just barely lower (-0.13%) than the 11-month total for 2016.

India’s steel industry produced an estimated 8.35 million metric tons during November 2017, 3.23% less than during October but 4.15% more than during November 2016. Through 11 months of this year, Indian steel production totals 92.5 million metric tons, which is 6.2% higher than the comparable total for 2016.

In South Korea, raw-steel production during November was estimated at 5.65 million metric tons, 3.2% less than during October but just 0.9% less than during November 2016. The year-to-date total for South Korean raw-steel output is 64.5 million metric tons, a rise of 2.8% over last year’s 11-month total.

The European Union’s 28 nations produced 13.98 million metric tons of raw steel during November 2017, 5.6% less than during October but 3.2% more than during November 2016. The regional YTD raw-steel total is now 154.9 million metric tons, 3.8% more than last year’s total for 11 months of production.

In Germany, November raw-steel production was estimated at 3.5 million metric tons, 3.2% less than the October result but 4.5% higher than the November 2016 result. The German industry’s YTD raw-steel total is 39.96 million metric tons, 2.9% higher than the 2016 11-month total.

Italy’s steelmakers produced 2.2 million metric tons during November 2017, 4.0% less than during October and 3.3% more than during November 2016. Their January-October production total is 22.3 million metric tons, 3.1% more than the comparable total for 2016.

In France, November raw-steel production totaled 1.2 million metric tons, 11.7% less than the October results and 8.7% less than the November 2016 total. Even so, total YTD production for the French industry is 39.96 million metric tons, 7.7% higher than last year’s January-November total.

Steelmakers in Spain produced 1.3 million metric tons during November 2017, 1.5% less than during October but 17.99% higher than during November 2016. For the year-to-date, Spanish raw-steel output is 13.1 million metric tons, 3.4% higher than last year’s 11-month total.

Beyond the EU, in Turkey, raw-steel production in Turkey fell 5.9% from October to 3.1 million metric tons during November. That total represents a 6.97% increase over the November 2016 result, and brings the year-to-date total to 34.2 million metric tons, which is 12.7% higher than last November’s YTD report.

Russia’s steelmakers produced 6.02 million metric tons of raw steel during November 2017, 3.2% less than the October total but 1.4% more than the year-ago total. For the year-to-date, Russian output is at 66.4 million metric tons of raw steel, 2.9% higher than the comparable 2016 result.

In Ukraine, steelmakers’ November output fell 3.14% from October to 6.01 million metric tons for November. That represents a 4.9% decrease from November 2016, and brings the YTD result to 19.9 million metric tons, down from last year by 10.4%.

The Brazilian steel industry’s November raw-steel output was 3.03 million metric tons, just 4.9% less than October but 15.3% higher than last November, and raising the YTD output total to 31.5 million metric tons, 9.12% higher than last year’s 11-month total.

Finally, U.S. steelmakers produced 6.7 million metric tons of raw steel during November, just 0.48% less than October and 8.9% more than during November 2016. For the January-November 2017 period, U.S. raw-steel production is 4.1% higher than the comparable total for 2017.

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