Worldwide Steel Output Appears to Stabilize in May

Worldwide Steel Output Appears to Stabilize in May

Global raw steel tonnage rose 3.2% from April to May, fell -0.1% from the May 2015 result Worldwide, 139,154,000 mt China: 70.5 million mt U.S.: 6.8 million mt

Chinese steelmakers increased their output by 1.6% from April to May, and by 1.8% compared to May 2015. Yet, with overall demand declining in the Chinese market and other factors at work to restrain overcapacity, the Chinese steel industry has produced 1.6% less raw steel this year than during the comparable January-May period of 2015.

Raw steel production rose 3.2% worldwide from April to May, and dipped only slightly (-0.1%) from May 2015, but the 2016 year-to-date tonnage is down 2.3% versus the first five months of 2015. These results drawn from the latest monthly report issued by the World Steel Association, which recently issued an outlook report for 2016 anticipating a small year-on-year (-0.8%) decline in global steel demand, to an estimated 1.488 billion metric tons, following the -3.0% annual decline shown in the 2015 global steel production (1.62 billion metric tons.) 

The Brussels-based World Steel Assn. tracks raw (or ‘crude’) steel production and capacity utilization on a monthly basis for its 66 member nations. 

Raw 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 Association reports tonnage and capacity utilization data for carbon and carbon alloy steel; data for production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are not included.

For May, worldwide raw steel production was 139,154,000 metric tons, up 3.2% from April’s 134,808,000 metric tons, and bringing the five-month total to 658,227,000 tons.

Raw steel capacity utilization for the 66 countries during May 2016 was 71.3% — 0.1% higher than during April but 1.0% point lower than during May 2015.

China, by far the world’s largest steelmaking nation, produced 70.5 million metric tons during for May, 1.6% more than during April and 1.8% more than during May 2015. Yet, with overall demand declining in the Chinese market and other structural factors working to restrain overcapacity, the Chinese steel industry has produced 1.6% less raw steel this year than during the comparable January-May period of 2015.

Japanese steelmakers produced 8.8 million metric tons of raw steel during May 2016, a rise of 4.0% from April but a decrease of 0.9% compared to May 2015. For the year-to-date, the industry has cut total output by 2.0% versus the comparable five-month period of 2015.

Raw steel production in India totaled 8.0 million metric tons during May 2016, up 5.3% versus April and up 4.9% on May 2015. The cumulative total for 2016 is 2.4% higher than the result at the same point of last year.

South Korean raw steel production increased 3.2% from April to May, up 5.8 million metric tons, though that figure is down 3.5% versus May 2015. The January-May raw-steel tonnage total for South Korea is down 2.7% year-over-year.

In the European market, the largest steelmaking nation is Germany, where May raw-steel production was 3.86 million metric tons, up 8.5% from April and up 4.0% over May 2015. German raw-steel production down 1.0% compared to the January-May 2015 result.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.2 million metric tons of raw steel during May, up 4.6% over April and up 9.3% May 2015. The year-to-date tonnage is 2.9% higher than last year’s comparable figure.

In Spain, steelmakers produced 1.3 million metric tons of raw steel during May, 2.1% more than during April but 10.6% less than during May 2015. The January-May result is 8.7% lower than the five-month result for 2015.

In France, May raw steel production totaled 1.17 million metric tons, 21.4% more than during April but 18.8% less than during May 2015. The five month total is 12.8% lower than the last year’s January-May tonnage.

Turkish raw steel production for May 2016 rose 5.3% from April to 3.0 million metric tons, up 5.4% over May 2015. The year-to-date total is up 3.4% versus last year’s January-May results.

Russian steelmakers produced 6.0 million metric tons during May, a narrow decline (-0.1%) from April but up by 0.4% over May 2015. Russia’s January-May 2016 tonnage is 2.8% lower than last year’s comparable figure.

In Ukraine, April raw-steel production was 2.3 million metric tons, up 4.4% from April and up by 5.7% compared to May 2015. For the current year, cumulative raw steel output in Ukraine is 14.7% higher than last year’s comparable result.

Brazil’s raw steel production for May 2016 was 2.6 million metric tons, 12.6% higher than the April tonnage but 13.2% lower than the May 2015 figure. For the year-to-date, raw-steel tonnage is 13.9% lower than the January-May 2015 tonnage total.

Steelmakers in the United States produced 6.8 million metric tons of raw steel (7.5 million short tons) during May, 3.3% less than during April and virtually even (-0.4%) with May 2015. The year-to-date total is likewise nearly the same as the January-May 2015 result, down just 0.2% compared to the five-month result for last year.

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