Yaroslav Tumbartsev | Dreamstime
Carbon steel bars.

Midyear Results Show Global Steel Output Slipping

July 24, 2022
Production has slowed in nearly every large steelmaking nation, and the result is that the year-over-year and year-to-date totals steadily trail the 2021 pace.

Steel production dropped more than 11 million metric tons in the latest monthly summary report from the World Steel Assn., totaling 158.1 million metric tons for June. That figure, though less than -1.0% below the figure World Steel reported for May, is -5.9% lower than the June 2021 global production total, and brings the six-month total for 2022 to 949.4 million metric tons – which is -5.5% lower than the January-June 2021 total.

The World Steel Assn. reports raw-steel output data for 64 countries representing about 98% of global steel production. The data covers 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 declining output is evident in nearly all of the world’s major steel producing countries, and notably in China, but it contrasts with contrasts with World Steel’s latest Short-Range Outlook report for global steel consumption. It predicted 2022 consumption would remain fairly steady with 2021, and a year-over-year rise of just +0.4%. That report, however, acknowledged the drop in 2022 Chinese steel output due to government restrictions on real-estate and construction growth.

Rising inflation worldwide, and the instability surrounding the Russia-Ukraine war, are other growth-limiting factors cited in World Steel’s report.

The Chinese steel industry, by far the largest in the world, produced 90.7 million metric tons of raw steel during June, nearly even (-0.07%) with the figure reported for May, but -3.3% less than the June 2021 total. With 528.9 million metric tons of raw steel produced during 2022, that industry is -6.5% behind its own 2021 total.

India’s steel industry is the exception to falling output. The world’s second-largest industry produced 10.0 million metric tons during June, again nearly even (-0.06%) with the May total but 6.3% higher than the June 2021 output. With 63.2 million metric tons produced during January-June, Indian steelmakers are 8.8% ahead of the same period for 2021.

In Japan, June raw-steel output Japan totaled 7.4 million metric tons, -0.09% less than the May total and -8.1% less than the June 2021 result. For the current year to-date, Japanese steelmakers have produced 46.0 million metric tons, -4.3% less than during January-June 2021.

Steelmakers in the U.S. produced 6.9 million metric tons ( million short tons), during June, -0.04% less than the May total and -4.2% less than during June 2021. During the first six months of 2022, U.S. steelmakers produced 41.1 million metric tons ( million short tons), which is -2.2% less than last year’s January-June result.

The fifth-largest steelmaking industry in the world, Russia, is estimated to have produced 5.0 million metric tons during June, -0.28% from the May estimate, and -22.2% compared to the June 2021 total. Compared to 2021, Russia’s estimated year-to-date steel output of 35.4 million metric tons is -7.2% lower.

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