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Finished steel in a warehouse.

World’s Steel Output Still Falling in January 2022

Feb. 27, 2022
Tons of steel produced worldwide fell more than 2% month-to-month as the new year began, but still stands 6.1% higher on a year-to-year basis.

Global raw-steel production continued to fall during January 2022, as it did during the second half of 2021, with a total volume of 155.0 million metric tons produced worldwide. The new monthly total was down 3.7 million tons, or -2.3%, versus the comparable total reported for December 2021.

Even so, the new result is 6.1% higher than the total for January 2021, according to the World Steel Assn., which reports monthly raw-steel output.

World Steel tracks raw-steel output for 64 countries representing about 98% of global steel production – 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 volumes are accounted separately.

The year-over-year tonnage increase may be attributed to production volumes returning to pre-pandemic levels in the U.S., the European Union, and other regions, while the slowing in the latter months of 2021 may be explained by planned reduction in Chinese steel output. Chinese steel producers have been reducing their production volumes in line with that nation’s economic plan to avoid over-supply and to slow excessive expansion in industrial and construction sectors.

Chinese steelmakers produced an estimated 81.7 million metric tons in January 2022, World Steel reported, 4.5 million metric tons or -5.2% less than during the previous month, and -11.2% less than their January 2021 output.

Steelmakers in India produced 10.8 million metric tons during January, 400,000 metric tons (+3.7%) more than during December and +4.7% more than during January 2022.

Japan produced 7.8 million metric tons of steel during January, slightly more than (+1.2%) the December volume, but -2.1% less than the total for January 2021.

The U.S. steel industry – the fourth-largest in the world – produced 7.3 million metric tons (8.05 million short tons) during January, +1.4% more than during December and 4.2% more than the January 2021 result.

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