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Global Steel Expansion Starts Again

June 23, 2021
Steel output increased +2.8% from April to May, and +16.5% from May 2020, bringing the current year’s total output to 837.5 million metric tons, +14.5% over January-May 2020 total.

Global steel production rose 2.8% from April to May 2021, to 174.4 million metric tons for the month. The new total is 16.5% higher than the May 2020 tonnage volume, and it brings the current year’s global tonnage to 837.5 million metric tons, which is 14.5% higher than the January-May 2020 total.

The totals are compiled and reported by the World Steel Assn., which tracks raw-steel output in 64 countries, accounting for about 98% of the world’s steel production.

May’s month-to-month production totals fell from the April totals in all of the 10 largest steelmaking countries reported – including in China, which consistently produces more than half of the world’s total raw steel, and even more during the past year as steelmakers in other regions adjusted output in order to manage decreased demand during the Covid-19 pandemic.

China’s May raw-steel output increased 1.6% from April to 99.5 million metric tons, 6.6% higher than the May 2020 total. The year-to-date total for China is 473.1 million metric tons, an increase of 13.9% over 2020.

India, the world’s second-largest steelmaking nation, produced 9.2 million metric tons during May, a 46.9% increase over May 2020. That raised the five-month total to 48.6 million metric tons, or 33.6% higher than the comparable figure for last year.

Japanese steelmakers produced 8.4 million metric tons during May, up 42.2% compared to May 2020. Japan’s year-to-date production total is up to 40.0 million metric tons, or 9.1% over last year’s January-May total.

The United States, now the fourth-largest steelmaking nation, produced 7.2 million metric tons (7.9 million short tons) of raw steel during May, up 4.7% from April and up 42.2% versus the May 2020 tonnage volume.

For the current year to-date, U.S. raw-steel production stands at 34.8 million metric tons (38.4 million short tons), which is 10.6% higher than last year’s January-May total.

The World Steel report covers the global output of "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.

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