Raw steel tonnages have followed a steady but declining trend for most of 2013 but the Chinese steelmakers have pursued an opposite trend gaining global market share World Steel Assn.

Raw steel tonnages have followed a steady, but declining, trend for most of 2013, but the Chinese steelmakers have pursued an opposite trend, gaining global market share.

Global Steel Production Fell 1.5% in August

Worldwide tonnage +2.3% YTD Capacity utilization -1.2% U.S. -2.9% in August

Raw steel production decreased 1.5% worldwide last month, falling from 132.3 million metric tons in July to 130.35 million metric tons during August. The weakening was driven by declines in major industrial markets, especially the European Union, but also in Japan and the U.S.

The August totals compare better with the August 2012 results, improving 5.2% over the 125.15 million metric tons produced that month. The eight-month totals for 2013 are 1.05 billion metric tons, which is 2.3% more than the January-August results for 2012.

Global steel production totals are reported by the World Steel Assn., which represents steelmakers in 64 countries. Its monthly report details production and capacity utilization for “raw steel,” 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 monthly report totals the global carbon and carbon alloy steel output; stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

In line with the monthly decline, global steel capacity utilization declined from 76.8% in July to 75.4% in August. That rate is 1.0% higher than the August 2012 utilization rate.

The global decline in August tonnage was offset by increasing raw steel production in China. There, producers’ August output totaled 66.3 million metric tons, and increase of 12.3% over the July volume, and an increase of 12.8% over the August 2012 report. China’s year-to-date production totals are 2.3% higher than the eight-month total for 2012.

In Japan, steelmakers produced 9.1 million metric tons during August, down 1.6% from July and down up 0.6% from the August 2012 result. For the year-to-date, Japanese steelmakers have produced 73.15 million metric tons, an improvement of just 0.9% over the eight-month result from 2012.

South Korea produced 4.9 million metric tons of steel during August, 11.9% less than the July volume, and 13.1% less than the August 2012 total. The 2013 year-to-date total for South Korea is 43.5 million tons, 6.3% less than the comparable figure for 2012.

India’s steelmakers produced 6.6 million metric tons last month, 0.3% less than during July, and 09% more than during August 2012. That country has produced 52.9 million metric tons during the first eight months of 2013, 2.5% more than during the same period of 2012.

U.S., E.U., Trailing 2012 Volumes

U.S. steelmakers produced 7.4 million metric tons of raw steel during August, 2.2% less than during July, and 2.9% less than during August 2012. During the January-August period, the U.S. steel industry produced 57.9 million metric tons, which is 5.2% less than during the same period of 2012.

The Brazilian steel industry’s August production totaled 3.0 million metric tons, 1.8% more than the July total and 4.6% more than the August 2012 total. For the year to date, Brazil’s steelmakers reported 22.9 million tons of production, 1.4% less than during the January-August 2012 period.

E.U. steel production fell 10.2% during August, and the year-to-date volume is down 4.9% verse the 2012 results. The data for individual nations detailed the declines are more severe in some markets. Year-to-date, the E.U.’s total steel production remains 4.9% behind last year’s rate.

Germany’s steelmakers produced 3.16 million metric tons of steel during August, 7.0% less than their July report, and 6.3% less than the August 2012 result. For January-August 2012, German steelmakers have produced 28.1 million metric tons of raw steel, -2.6% less than during the first eight months of 2012.

The situation appears more critical in Italy, where steel tonnage output declined 50% to 1.1 million metric tons during August, from 2.2 million metric tons during July. The newer total brings Italy’s year-to-date steel output to 15.85 million metric tons, 14.1% behind the pace of the 2012 production total.

Steelmakers in Spain produced 1.03 million tons during August, 7.2% more than during July, but 7.5% less than during August 2012. The country’s year-to-date steel production total is 9.2 million tons, 3.0% less than the January-August 2012 total.

French steelmakers produced 1.2 million metric tons during August, 11.4% less than during July, and 21.7% less than during August 2012. The year-to-date production total for France is 10.5 million metric tons, 2.3% less than during the first eight months of 2012.

Turkey’s raw steel production for August 2013 was 2.6 million metric tons, 8.75% less than July and 15.4% less than August 2012. For the January-August period, Turkish steelmakers have produced 22.8 million metric tons, 5.4% less than their output during the same period of

In Russia, steelmakers produced 5.8 million metric tons of raw steel, 0.8% more than during July, but 1.9% less than during August 2012.  The Russian production total for the first eight months of 2013 is 46.2 million tons, 2.8% less than the eight-month volume for 2012.

Finally, steelmakers in Ukraine produced 2.8 million metric tons during August, 1.7% less than during July, but 4.1% more than during August 2012. For the year-to-date, that country’s steel industry has produced 22.3 million tons, 0.6% less than the eight-month result for 2012.

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