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World Steel Assn. forecast recently that demand for global steel used in manufacturing and construction will continue to rise in 2018 and 2019.

Global Steel Production Rose 12% in March

Steelmakers in 64 countries combined to produce 148.3 mmt of raw steel, 426.5 mmt (+4.4%) for January-March 2018

Steelmakers in 64 countries combined to produce 148.3 million metric tons of raw steel during March, 12.0% more than during February and 4.0% more than during March 2017. Through the first quarter of 2018, global steel output is up to 426.5 million metric tons, an increase of 4.4% over last year’s January-March production.

Also during March, raw-steel capacity utilization rose nearly 1% (0.9%) from February, to 74.5%, and stands 2.2% higher than the March 2017 rate.

Due to the greater number of working days, the increase in output from February to March is to be expected, and yet the rate of change versus March 2017 totals varied quite widely among the largest steelmaking nations — including some notable year-over-year declines in output.

The results are supplied by the World Steel Assn., which tracks raw-steel output and capacity utilization by steelmakers in 64 nations, accounting for about 99% of total raw-steel production worldwide. Raw steel is the output of basic-oxygen and electric-arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, like billets, blooms, and slabs.

Recently, the World Steel Assn. forecast that demand for steel used in manufacturing and construction will continue to rise in 2018 and 2019, having regained stability in 2017 after two years of volatility and contraction. 

World Steel Assn.March 2018 raw steel graph

In 1Q 2018, steelmakers in 64 countries produced 426.5 million metric tons. +4.4% over January-March 2017.

As always, China dominated global raw-steel output during March, with 73.98 million tons produced, 13.9% more than during February and 4.5% more than during March 2017. The year-to-date output for China’s steelmakers is 212.2 million tons, 6.0% higher than the three-month total for 2017.

Japanese steelmakers produced 9.1 million metric tons of raw steel during March 2018, 9.5% more than during February and 2.2% more than during March 2017. The YTD total for Japan is now 26.4 million metric tons, just 0.7% higher than last year’s comparable total.

India’s steelmakers produce 9.3 million metric tons of raw steel during March 2018, 9.4% more than during February and 5.3% more than during March 2017. Through the first quarter of this year, the Indian industry has produces 26.7 million metric tons of raw steel, 3.7% more than during 1Q 2017.

In South Korea, March raw-steel production totaled 6.09 million metric tons, 12.6% more than during February and 4.7% more than during March 2017. The January-March 2018 output total is 17.8 million metric tons, 2.8% more than the previous year’s three-month result.

Across the 28 nations of the European Union, March raw-steel output increased 9.5% from February to 15.1 million metric tons, though that total is merely 0.5% higher than the March 2017 total. For the year-to-date, EU 28 raw-steel production of 43.01 million metric tons is 0.9% higher than the three-month total for 2017.

In Germany, the EU’s largest steel producer, March raw-steel output rose 7.14% month-to-month to 3.9 million metric tons. That figure is 1.0% higher than the March 2017 total, and brings the year-to-date total to 11.0 million metric tons, 3.7% higher than last year’s figure.

Italian steelmakers producers 2.3 million metric tons of raw steel during March, 8.9% more than during February and 1.0% more than during March 2017. With 6.4 million metric tons produced to-date during 2018, the current year’s total is 3.7% higher than last year’s result.

The French steel industry produced 1.35 million metric tons of raw steel during March, 8.1% higher than the February total and 1.55% more than the March 2017 total. From January through March, French steelmakers produced 3.97 million metric tons, 1.9% more than the comparable total for last year.

In Spain, March raw-steel production increased 17.2% from February to March, to 2.3 million metric tons. That represents a 4.1% decline from the March 2017 total, and brings the year-to-date total to 3.6 million metric tons, a 1.7% drop from Jan.-March 2017.

The Russian steel industry produced 5.7 million metric tons last month, 10.7% more than during February and 10.0% less than during March 2017. Their three-month total for 2018 is 16.55 million metric tons, a decline of 6.7% from the Jan.-March 2017 period.

In Ukraine, raw-steel production rose 6.4% from February to March, to 1.7 million in the latest result, which is 4.7% higher than last year’s March result. It brought the year-to-date total in Ukraine to 5.23 million metric tons, a 2.8% decline from last year’s results.

Turkish steelmakers produced 3.4 million metric tons during March, 12.4% more than during February and 7.6% more than during March 2017. Their January-March output totaled 9.54 million metric tons, 7.9% more than last year’s first-quarter total.

Brazil’s steel industry 3.1 million metric tons during March, 12.8% more than during February and 7.6% more than during March 2017. Their YTD total is 8.6 million metric tons, a rise of 4.8% versus the 2017 1Q total.

Finally, in the U.S., steelmakers produced 7.26 million metric tons (8.0 million short tons) during March, a 10.15% increase over the February total and a 5.3% increase over the March 2017 total. For the January-March period, U.S. steelmakers produced 20.744 million metric tons (22.9 million short tons) of raw steel, an improvement of 2.2% compared the three-month result for 2017.

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