Steel Output Drops for Third Straight Month

Steel Output Drops for Third Straight Month

August raw tonnage down worldwide, but year-to-date totals still ahead Capacity utilization, -1.2% Double-digit declines in E.U. U.S. tonnage, -1.1%

Chinese steelmakers continue to produce roughly half of all the world’s steel output, rising 0.8% against the prevailing global trend with an August total of 586,000 metric tons.

Worldwide steel production declined for the third straight month during August, according to the World Steel Association’s monthly survey, falling 1.6% from the revised July result to 134,956 million metric tons. That total, however, was 1.4% higher than the August 2013 tonnage.

For the first eight months of 2013, 1.096 million metric tons of raw steel have been produced worldwide, a 2.4% increase over the comparable result for 2013.

The Brussels-based World Steel Assn. tracks raw (or crude) steel tonnage and capacity utilization among its member companies, who represent 65 countries. Raw steel is the product of electric arc furnaces and basic oxygen 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.

Capacity utilization also slipped from July to August, falling 1.2% to 74.2%, a result that also is down 1.4% from the August 2013 rate.

Chinese raw steel production increased 0.8% from July to 68.9 million metric tons, though that is a 1.0% increase from one year ago. For the year-to-data, China has produced 550.1 million metric tons of steel, nearly half of the total worldwide eight-month output.

Japan, the world’s second steelmaking country by volume, produced 9.3 million metric tons of raw steel last month, an increase of less than 1% (0.6%) from July, and of 2.2% from August 2013.

In South Korea, another of the top-ten-producing nations, raw steel output fell 10.4% to 5.3 million metric tons, a total that improved on the August 2013 figure by 8.0%.

In Germany, raw steel output fell 9% from July and 1.0% from August 2013 to 3.1 million metric tons, though it remains 3.3% above the 2013 year-to-date totals.

Declining raw-steel output was widespread in the European Union, with Spanish steel production falling 7% from July to 1.1 million metric tons; France’s output fell 27% from July, to 1.055 million metric tons; and Italian output fell 52.4% from July to 987,000 million metric tons

In Russia, raw steel output increased 0.6% from July, to 6.2 million metric tons, which is 5.8% more than the nation produced in August 2013. Ukraine produced 1.8 million metric tons,  

In August 2014, Russia produced 6.2 million metric tons of raw steel, up by 5.8% over August 2013. Ukraine produced 1.8 million metric tons of raw steel, a decrease of 28.0% from July and of 37.0% from August 2013.

North American steelmakers produce 10.5 million metric tons of raw steel last month, 0.5% more than during July and 2.0% more than during August 2013.

U.S. steelmakers produced 7.7 million metric tons during August, down by 1.1% from July but up 2.9% from August 2013. 

Finally, Brazilian steelmakers produced 2.9 million metric tons last month, 0.6% more than during July, and 1.4% less than during August 2013.

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