David Tadevosian | Dreamstime
Hot steel billet/bloom casting.

Global Steel Tonnage Flattens

Nov. 27, 2023
The world’s steelmakers’ output rose slightly to 150 million metric tons during October, according to the latest available summary, meaning the 2023 year-to-date production volume is essentially even with last year’s comparable figure.

Global steel output inched upward (0.5%) from September to an October total of 150.0 million metric tons according to the latest summary released by the World Steel Association. The new total represents a comparably small (0.6%) increase over the total reported for October 2022, and it raises the year-to-date total for 2023 raw steel production to 1.57 billion metric tons, essentially even (+0.2%) with last year’s 10-month output.

The narrowing volume of output suggest declining demand – in line with the World Steel’s recent short-term forecast for global steel consumption, predicting that 2023 demand will grow just +1.8% year-over-year to 1.814 billion metric tons. Compared to 2022. 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 the current year, in apparent response to weakening demand brought on by continuing high inflation and high interest rates impacting industrial and construction activities.

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.)

China is one country where output declined during October, down -3.8% from September to 79.7 million metric tons. That new total is -1.8% from October 2022, and it brings China’s year-to-date output to 874.7 million metric tons, or 1.4% more than last year’s January-October total.

Indian steelmakers produced 12.1 million metric tons of raw steel during October, 4.1% more than during September and 15.1% more than during October 2022. The country’s year-to-date production totals 116.3 million metric tons of raw steel, 12.1% higher than last year’s comparable figure.

In Japan, October raw steel production totaled 7.5 million metric tons, or 6.7% more than during September and 2.6% more than during October 2022. With 10 months of raw steel output for 2023, the Japanese industry has produced 72.9 million metric tons, or -3.0% less than last year over the comparable period.

Steelmakers in the United States produced 6.8 metric tons (7.49 million short tons) of raw steel during October, 1.5% more than during September and 3.4% more than the October 2022 total. However, having produced 67.4 million metric tons (74.3 million short tons) of raw steel from January through October, U.S. producers are on a level (-0.8%) with the 10-month output for last year.