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Hot, continuous-cast steel billet at runout.

Steel Output Down for Fourth Straight Month

Oct. 30, 2023
Global raw steel output totaled less than 150 million metric tons in September, as steelmakers curb production in response to weak demand brought on by inflation and high interest rates impacting industrial and construction activities.

Global raw-steel production over an 18-month period, April 2022 through September 2023. The latest monthly total shows raw-steel production for 63 countries was 149.3 million metric tons during September 2023, -1.5% less than the August 2022 total. Through nine months of 2023 production, global steel output stands at 1.406 billion metric tons, or +0.1% more than the nine-month total for 2022.World Steel Assn.Raw steel production declined for the fourth consecutive month in September, down -2.2% worldwide from August to 149.3 million metric tons across the 63 countries reporting to the World Steel Association. The new figure is -1.5% lower than the September 2022 total, and brings the year-to-date total for global output to 1.406 billion metric tons, nearly even (+0.1%) with the nine-month total for 2022 production.

World Steel recently issued a new short-term forecast for global steel consumption, predicting that demand will grow +1.8% year-over-year to 1.814 billion metric tons for 2023. This would follow the -3.3% decline in demand recorded for 2022. Steelmakers in most of the largest producing nations have been curbing output during much of 2023, in apparent response to weakening demand brought on by continuing high inflation and high interest rates impacting industrial and construction activities.

The cuts in output have been most significant in China, the world’s largest steelmaking nation that consistently produces more the all the rest of the world combined. Chinese raw steel output declined by 4.3 million metric tons, or -5.2% from August to 82.1 million metric tons in September, which is -5.6% lower than the September 2022 result. It brings China’s YTD raw steel output to 795.1 million metric tons, which is +1.7% more than that nation’s steelmakers totaled for January-September 2022.

India, the second-largest steelmaking nation, produced 8.9 million metric tons during September, -2.6% from August but +18.2% higher than in September 2022. Through nine months of 2023 activity, Indian raw steel output totals 104.1 million metric tons, or +11.6% versus the same figure for 2022.

Japanese steelmakers produced 7.0 million metric tons of raw steel during September, a -1/4% drop from the August total and a -1.7% decrease from the September 2022 result. For the January-September period, Japan’s producers’ output is 65.4 million metric tons, or -3.6% less than 2022’s comparable total.

U.S. steelmakers’ September production total of 6.7 million metric tons (7.38 million short tons) is -4.5% less than their August total, but +2.6% more than last September’s result. It brings the U.S. YTD production to 60.6 million metric tons (66.8 million short tons), or -3.6% less than the comparable figure for January-September 2022.

World Steel’s monthly report summarizes production results from 63 countries, representing 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.

About the Author

Robert Brooks | Content Director

Robert Brooks has been a business-to-business reporter, writer, editor, and columnist for more than 20 years, specializing in the primary metal and basic manufacturing industries. His work has covered a wide range of topics, including process technology, resource development, material selection, product design, workforce development, and industrial market strategies, among others. Currently, he specializes in subjects related to metal component and product design, development, and manufacturing — including castings, forgings, machined parts, and fabrications.

Brooks is a graduate of Kenyon College (B.A. English, Political Science) and Emory University (M.A. English.)

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