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Global Steel Output Slowing Again

March 25, 2021
Steel production declined about -8.8% worldwide from January to February, with notable tonnage decreases in all of the largest producer nations, but the year-over-year result showed an encouraging 4.1% rise in output.

Global steel production fell to 150.2 million metric tons during February, about 14.8 million metric tons or -8.8% less than during January, according to the latest monthly summary of raw-steel output provided by the World Steel Assn. While the month-to-month decrease may be attributed to fewer working days during February, the latest total indicates a 4.1% year-over-year increase from the February 2020 tonnage.

During the first two months of 2021, global steel production amounted to 315.0 million metric tons, +6.6% more than the January-February 2020 total.

World Steel data incorporates raw-steel production in 64 countries, which represents about 98% of all steel produced. The data covers "raw” carbon steel, the product of basic-oxygen or electric arc furnaces and cast into semi-finished forms like billets for bar and rod products; slabs for flat products; or blooms, for beam and pipe products. Specialty and stainless steel are accounted separately.

The February total includes an estimated 83.0 million metric tons produced in China, -9.8% less than China’s estimated January output but +10.9% more than China’s February 2020 raw-steel production. China’s YTD steel tonnage total is 175.0 million metric tons, about 66.0% of all the steel produced worldwide during 2021.

Among the world’s other large steel-producing nations:
  India produced 9.1 million metric tons or raw steel during February, -11.65% less than during January and -3.1% less than during February 2020. 
•  Japanese steelmakers produced 7.5 million metric tons,-5.1% than January and -5.6% compared to February 2020.  
•  The Russian industry is estimated to have produced 5.7 million metric tons during February, -10.9% compared to January’s estimated output and -1.3% versus February 2020. 
•  South Korea produced 5.5 million metric tons during February, down -8.3% compared to January but up 1.2% from the February 2020 total.

The U.S. steel industry produced 6.3 million metric tons (6.6 million short tons) of raw steel during February, -10.0% less than the January total and -10.9% compared to the February 2020 total.

During the first two months of 2021, U.S. steelmakers produced 13.3 million metric tons (14.7 million short tons) of raw steel, -9.9% less than the January-February 2020 tonnage.

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