David Tadevosian | Dreamstime
Oxy-torch cutting steel billets.

Global Steel Output is Steady

June 26, 2023
Despite some reduction in Chinese tonnage, global production of carbon steel remains essentially even with the monthly and annual pace, against a forecast for slowly rising demand.

Global steel tonnage remained nearly unchanged (+0.1%) from April to May 2023, with 161.6 million metric tons produced across the 63 nations reporting to the World Steel Assn. The figure for May also signifies a -5.1% year-to-year decrease in output, and it brings the global year-to-date total to 786.0 million metric tons produce, down -1.2% compared to the January-May 2022 result.

World Steel’s monthly summary of output represents 97.0% of global steel capacity. The report 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 not included.)

The Association recently forecast 2023 steel demand will rise 2.3% in 2023 to 1.82 billion metric tons, and then will improve further by 1.7% to 1.85 billion metric tons for 2024.

The global result indicates rising production in major producer nations – but not in China, where steelmakers cut their output by -2.8% from April to 90.1 million metric tons during May. The new total is -7.3% lower than Chinese steelmakers produced in May 2022, and puts their YTD production total at 444.6 million metric tons, 1.6% above the five-month output for 2022.

Indian steel output has remained steadily in positive territory over the past two years, and it rose again in May – up 4.5% from April to 11.2 million metric tons for the latest month. That total is 4.1% higher than the May 2022 figure, and it brings the year-to-date total for Indian steel output to 56.4 million metric tons.

In Japan, May steel production totaled 7.6 million metric tons, up 5.3% from April but down -5.2% from May 2022. The YTD output total is 36.5 million tons, -5.3% lower than the result for January-May 2022.

U.S. steel production rose 4.3% from April to May, to 6.9 million metric tons (7.6 million short tons) in the latest monthly total. That figure is -2.3% lower than the May 2022 total, and it brings the current YTD total to 33.1 million metric tons (36.5 million short tons), down -3.4% from last year’s five-month result.