Raw steel billets cut-off torch
Billets, one of the most common products of raw steel production, are rolled into a range of commodity-grade and specialty bar, rod, and wire products.

Global Steel Output Steadily Rising Through 3Q

Total raw steel production for 66 countries was 141.4 million metric tons in September 2017, +5.6% over September 2016.

Through three quarters of 2017, global steel production has risen more than 5.2% over the comparable period of 2016, reconfirming the indicators that global steel consumption has resumed a more normal pattern and that the industry has regained the stability it lacked over the previous three years. During September, steel production across 66 countries totaled 141.4 million metric tons, according to the World Steel Assn., down 2.3% from August production but 5.56% higher than September 2016 production.

Through September, the world’s steelmakers have produced 1.27 billion tons of raw steel, over 60 million tons more than were produced from January to September 2016. It also reported that global capacity utilization during the same period was 73.5%, 0.6% higher than the August result and 2.8% higher than September 2016 capacity utilization.

World Steel reports monthly raw-steel output and capacity utilization for 66 nations. Raw (or crude) steel is produced by 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.

Earlier this month World Steel issued a semi-annual short-term outlook for global steel demand, projecting total 2017 total demand to rise slightly to 1.6 billion metric tons, pointing to improved results in China and the developed economies, less political and social instability, and strength in the construction and machinery sectors.

World Steel Assn.Sept 2017 raw steel production graph

China produces about half of the world’s raw-steel output, including 638.7 million metric tons during the first nine months of 2017.

The improved demand is evident in the production data. In China – which produces about half of all the world’s raw steel — September production totaled 71.8 million metric tons, down 3.7% from August but 5.3% over September 2016 output. The year-to-date total is now 638.7 million metric tons, 5.4% higher that 2016’s none-month total.

In Japan, September production declined 1.2% from August, to 8.6 million metric tons, but that is 2.0% higher than the September 2016 output. YTD, Japanese raw steel production is nearly even (-0.15%) with the January-September 2016 total.

Indian steelmakers produced 8,200 million metric tons during September, 3.2% less than in August, 1.95% more than in September 2016, and raising the 2017 total to 78.3 million metric tons, 5.7% higher than last year’s comparable total.

The South Korean steel industry produced 5.9 million metric tons during September, falling 3.2% behind their August result but 2.8% ahead of last August’s result. Their YTD total is now 52.8 million metric tons, a 3.5% rise over last year’s nine-month total.

In the European Union, the region’s largest producer – Germany – had a September output of 3.5 million metric tons, down 3% from August and nearly even (-0.10%) with September 2016 production. Through three quarters of 2017, the German industry has produced 2.1% more steel than during the comparable period of 2016.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.2 million metric tons during September, nearly double the August output (+98.9%) and up by 8.3% over September 2016. YTD, the Italian industry has produced 2.53% more than at the same point last year.

In France, September raw-steel production totaled 1.3 million metric tons, 16.5% higher than during August and 3.2% higher than the September 2016 result. Through September, the French industry has produced 11.7 million metric tons, 10.5% more than the nine-month total for last year.

The Spanish industry produced 1.3 million metric tons in September 2017, 14.7% higher than during August and 6.7% higher than in September 2016. The year-to-date production total is 10.7 million metric tons, 2.7% more than last year’s comparable total.

Russian steelmakers produced 6.0 million tons of raw steel in September, 3.2% less than during August but 5.8% more than during August 2016. The January-September total is 54.2 million metric tons, an increase of 2.82% over 2016’s nine-month total.

Steelmakers in the Ukraine poured 1.8 million metric tons of raw steel last month, 3.15% less than the previous month, nearly even (-0.8%) with the year-earlier figure, and bringing the country’s year-to-date production total to 16.1 million metric tons, 11.6% less than during the comparable period of 2016.

Raw steel production in Turkey during September totaled 3.0 million metric tons, 5.7% less than during August but 13.0% higher than during September 2016. That country’s annual production total rose to 27.7 million metric tons through September, 13.5% over September 2016’s year-to-date total.

In Brazil, September raw steel production totaled 2.96 million metric tons, essentially even (0.12%) with the August result and up 7.6% over the September 2016 total. YTD, the Brazilian steel industry has produced 25.5 million metric tons, 9.3% higher than last year at the comparable point.

Finally, the U.S. steel industry 6.7 million metric tons (7.4 million short tons) of raw steel during September 2017, 5.4% less than during August but 8.6% higher than the September 2016 total. Through nine months of 2017, the U.S. steelmakers’ production total is 61.4 million metric tons (67.7 million short tons) of raw steel, 2.4% higher than the comparable figure for 2016.

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