Global Steel Production Rose 3.3% for October

136.5 million metric tons tops September, October 2015 — but year-to-date output is still trailing last year’s total. Global capacity utilization, 69.6% China’s steel output, +4.0% U.S. steel output, -2.5%

China produces nearly half of all the world’s steel. While it has been working to reduce its excess capacity, its October output once again conformed to global trends.

Global raw-steel production rose 2.6% from September to October, totaling 136,522,876 metric tons, with similar percentage increases in most of the major steelmaking nations and regions tracked by the World Steel Association. The year-over-year comparison is even higher for October, with a 3.3% higher in October 2016 than in October 2015.

For the year-to-date, however, global raw-steel production is still slightly (-0.69%) below the January-October 2015 total.

World Steel Assn. tracks monthly raw-steel output and capacity utilization rates for 66 countries. Raw (or crude) steel is the output of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces that is cast into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets.  The World Steel Association reports tonnage and capacity utilization data for carbon and carbon alloy steel in 66 countries; data for production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are not included.

Recently World Steel issued a new short-range outlook for steel demand, and forecast that global steel demand will increase by 0.2% to 1.501 billion metric tons in 2016, having declined 3.0% in 2015. For 2017, World Steel forecasts that global steel demand will grow by 0.5% and will reach 1.51 billion metric tons.

As for capacity utilization, the association reports that during October it fell 0.6% from September to 69.6%. In October 2015, the global raw-steel capacity utilization was 68.2%.

Chinese steelmakers’ October production total was 68.5 million metric tons, 0.5% higher than the September total and 4.0% over the October 2015 output. It raised the year-to-date output for the world’s largest steel industry to 673 million metric tons, 0.47% less than during the comparable 10-month period of 2015.

In Japan, the steel industry produced 9.0 million metric tons of raw steel during October, 7.21% higher than September’s result and 0.58% higher than October 2015’s production total. Japan’s January-October production total is 87.45 million metric tons, 0.43% less than the total for last year’s 10-month output.

India’s steel industry produced 8.3 million metric tons last month, 2.8% more than during September and 12.3% more than during October 2015. The nation’s YTD total is 79.5 million metric tons, or 6.8% more than last year’s January-October total.

South Korea, Asia’s fourth major steelmaking nation, produced 5.96 million metric tons of raw steel during October, 4.27% more than during September and 2.05% less than during October 2015. The current total raw-steel production for South Korea is 57.0 million metric tons, or 1.63% less than during the first 10 months of 2015.

The European steel industry also demonstrated some resurgence during October. The largest steelmaking nation Europe, Germany, produced 3.5 million metric tons last month, 8.0% more than during September and 0.33% more than during October 2015. For January through October, German steelmakers have produced 35.5 million metric tons, 1.9% less than 2015’s 10-month total.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.1 million metric tons of raw steel during October, 7.24% more than September and 11.4% more than during October 2015. YTD, Italy’s steel industry has produced 19.45 million metric tons, or 4.2% more than last year’s comparable total.

Steelmakers in France produced an estimated 1.3 million metric tons during October, or 3.3% more than during September and 12.8% more than during October 2015. France’s Jan.-Oct. 2016 total is 11.94 million metric tons of raw steel, 6.9% lower than last year’s 10-month total.

In Spain, October raw-steel production fell 2.6% from September to 1.2 million metric tons, which is 10.5% lower than the comparable figure for 2016.

Not in the EU, though one of the largest steelmaking nations in the region is Turkey. There, October raw-steel production totaled 2.97 million metric tons, which is 12.0% higher than September, and 8.6% higher than October 2015. The January-October 2016 total for Turkish steelmaking is 27.4 million metric tons, or 4.6% higher than last year’s 10-month result.

Russia’s producers reported October output of 5.9 million metric tons, 4.86% higher than in September and 2.0% higher than in October 2015. The YTD raw-steel production total for Russia is 59.6 million metric tons, 1.44% less than last year’s January-October total.

In Ukraine, October raw-steel production rose 3.83% from September, to 1.93 million metric tons, but that figure is 6.0% lower than the October 2015 total. For the current year-to-date, Ukrainian steelmakers have produced 20.19 million metric tons of raw steel, and that total is 5.43% higher than last year’s 10-month total.

Raw steel production in Brazil totaled 2.7 million metric tons during October, 5.52% more than during September and 8.8% lower than during October 2015. The YTD raw-steel production total for Brazil is 29.64 million metric tons, 9.24% less than the comparable 2015 total.

In the United States, October raw-steel production totaled 6.38 million metric tons (7.03 million short tons), which is 3.16% more than the September total but 2.5% less than the October 2015 output. Through the first 10 months of 2016, U.S. steelmakers have produced 65.97 million metric tons (72.72 million short tons) of raw steel.

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