At Midyear, Steel Output Declining Worldwide

At Midyear, Steel Output Declining Worldwide

June’s -2.6% decline continues pace of falling tonnage, felt across major markets and regions Capacity utilization falling China cutting capacity U.S. output trailing year-ago pace

The World Steel Association records steel production on a monthly basis across 65 countries. Year-to-date, it reports 813 million metric tons of produced worldwide, 1.74% less than during January-June 2014.

The world’s steelmakers produced 136 million metric tons of raw steel during June 2015, a decrease of 2.6% from May’s total tonnage and a 2.4% decrease from the June 2014 result. It is the fourth monthly decline during the first six months of 2015. During that time the global steel industry has produced 813.0 million metric tons, a 2.0% decrease compared to the January-June 2014 period.

Global steel tonnage figures are reported by the World Steel Association, a trade association that includes steelmakers from 65 nations. It reports data for raw steel production and capacity utilization on a monthly basis.

The group reported raw-steel capacity utilization for the 65 countries slipped 0.1% from May to 72.2% for June. This is down 3.5% compared to June 2014.

In April, World Steel issued its semi-annual forecast for steel consumption, anticipating global consumption of steel products would rise less than 1% year-on-year for the current term.

Raw steel (or “crude” steel) is the product of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel’s results include data for carbon and carbon alloy steel output. Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

During June, China’s raw steel production was 68.9 million metric tons, down 1.4% from the previous month and down 0.8% compared to June 2014. While China is by far the world’s largest steelmaking nation, in recent years it has been enforcing a policy to consolidate operations and eliminate obsolete production capacity. Even so, during the first six months of 2015 China’s steel output totaled 409.97 million metric tons, down just 0.71% compared to the first six months of 2014. 

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan’s steelmakers produced 8.6 million metric tons of raw steel during June 2015, 3.9% less than during May and 6.2% less than during June 2014.  Japan is the world’s second-largest steelmaking nation, but it’s year-to-date output is 4.71% less than at the same time last year.

Indian steel production was 7.4 million metric tons during June, down 2.3% from May but up by 0.8% versus June 2014. South Korean steelmakers’ production totaled 5.9 million metric tons during June, down 2.6% from May and down by 3.6% compared to June 2014.

Germany, the largest steelmaker in the European Union, produced 3.8 million metric tons of raw steel during June, increasing its output by 1.6% from May and 5.8% compared to June 2014. Despite the improvements, Germany’s year-to-date steel output is down 1.49% compared to the same period of last year.

Italian steelmakers produced 1.9 million metric tons during June, falling 4.1% from the May result and down 11.4% from the June 2014 result. Italy’s year-to-date steel output is down 10.57% compared to the first six months of 2014.

France’s raw steel production was 1.4 million metric tons during June, down 1.3% compared to June 2014, and Spanish steelmakers produced 1.3 million metric tons of raw steel, a 3.3% decrease compared to last June.

Steelmakers in Russia produced 5.6 million metric tons of raw steel during June, down 5.7% from May and down 7.5% from June 2014.  For the year to date, they have produced 35.7 million metric tons of raw steel, barely improving (+0.83%) over the six-month total for 2014.

In Ukraine, June raw steel production fell 7.8% to 2.0 million metric tons, a decrease of 21.8% compared to the same month of 2014. The six-month total for Ukrainian steelmakers is 11.3 million metric tons, down 27.2% compared to the same period of 2014.

In Brazil, raw steel production fell 6.9% from May to June, to 2.8 million metric tons. That result is up by 2.1% compared to June 2014.

Lastly, steelmakers in the U.S. produced 6.7 million metric tons (7.4 million short tons) of raw steel during June 2015, a result that is 1.8% less than the May tonnage and 8.5% less than the June 2014 figure. For the year-to-date, U.S. steelmakers have produce 39.86 million metric tons (43.9 million short tons) of raw steel, a result that is 8.6% less than the January-June 2014 tonnage total.

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