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Global Steel Recovery Slowed in June

July 25, 2021
Steelmakers continue to post significant gains over the 2020 results, but a drop in Chinese tonnage cut the world’s total output by -3.9% in the latest monthly summary.

Global raw-steel production slipped to 167.9 million metric tons during June, down -3.87% from May – with corresponding month-over-month declines in most of the largest steelmaking nations. Even so, the latest data shows a 11.6% improvement over the year-ago (June 2020) total. More to the point, year-to-date steel output in the 64 countries tracked by the World Steel Assn. has passed 1 billion (1.004) metric tons and stands 14.4% higher than the six-month total for 2020.

The World Steel Assn. figures represent about 98% of global raw-steel output – meaning carbon steel, produced in 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 volume of steel produced each month reveals the dominance of the Chinese steel industry within the global market: With a June output of 93.9 million, Chinese producers’ output represented roughly 66.0% of the world total, a margin that has widened during the past year.

During June, however, Chinese raw-steel production dropped 5.96% from May to 93.9 million metric tons. This figure represents a 1.5% year-over-year increase over June 2020 and brings China’s year-to-date total raw-steel output to 563.3 million, 11.8% higher than for the comparable January-June 2020 period.

India, the second-largest steel-producing nation, had a June output of 9.4 million metric tons – 10% of the output by China – which is 2.13% higher than the May total and 21.4% higher than the June 2020 result. For the current year, Indian steelmakers have produced 57.9 million metric tons, which is 31.3% higher than last year’s six-month total.

Japan produce 8.1 million metric tons during June, down -3.7% from May but 44.4% higher than the June 2020 figure, bringing the year-to-date total to 48.1 million metric tons – a 13.8% rise over 2020.

The U.S. steel industry is the world’s fourth-largest by output and reported a June total of 7.1 million metric tons (7.8 million short tons), dropping -1.4% below the May total. The latest figure is 44.4% higher than June 2020’s report and raises the current year’s output to 42.0 million metric tons (46.3 million short tons), a 15.5% improvement over 2020.

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