Global steel production rose totaled 161.0 million metric tons in April, up just 1.04% from March and -5.10% less than the total for April 2021. The month-to-month uptick reflects a slight increase in Chinese steel output, although April totals from other large producer-nations decreased from March and mostly lag the year-ago pace. The results continue to show a global steel market facing uncertainties in industrial and construction demand, and trailing the results of the immediate post-pandemic period, with a total of 619.1 million metric tons produced year-to-date (January-April 2022), which is -7.10 less than the January-April 2021 total.
All the figures are supplied by the World Steel Assn., which 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.In April the World Steel Assn. issued its latest Short-Range Outlook report for global steel consumption, and predicted 2022 would see a year-over-year rise of just +0.4%, citing Chinese government restrictions on real-estate and construction growth along with rising inflation worldwide and the instability surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war.
The Chinese industry produced 92.8 million metric tons of raw steel during April 2022, 4.85% more than during March but -5.2% less than in April 2021. Steelmakers in that country – the largest domestic steel industry in the world – have produced 336.2 million metric tons through the first four months of 2022, -10.3% less than during the comparable period of last year. Because China represents a total installed capacity that is larger than all of the rest of the world combined, the decrease in Chinese output dictated by government policy to prevent overheating in the Chinese industrial and real-estate sectors, has impacted the global steel market.
By contrast, the Indian steel industry – the world’s second largest – has expanded during 2022. For April, steelmakers in India produced 10.1 million metric tons, -7.92% less than during March, and 6.2% more than during April 2021. For the current year to-date, Indian steelmakers have produced 42.3 million metric tons, which is 6.5% more than during the first four months of 2021.
Japan produced 7.5 million metric tons of raw steel during April, -6.67% less than during March and -4.40% less than during April 2021. For January-April 2022, Japanese steelmakers produced 30.5 million metric tons, down -3.3% compared to the comparable period of 2021.
U.S. steelmakers produced 6.9 million metric tons (7.6 million short tons) of raw steel during April, -1.45% less than during March and -3.9% than during April 2021. The domestic industry’s January-April output totals 27.1 million metric tons (29.9 million short tons) of raw steel, -1.7% than during the first four months of 2021.