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Oxy-torch cutting of steel billets at con-caster runout.

Global Steel Output Fading in Latest Total

Dec. 26, 2023
The world’s steelmakers continued to pare production volumes during November amid weak demand, as 2023 approaches an ending with negligible increase in tonnages.

Global steel production fell by 4.5 million metric tons or -3.1% from October, finishing November at 145.5 million metric tons. While that total is 3.3% higher than the November 2022 result, it shows that steelmakers worldwide continue paring their outputs in response to weak demand.

For the 11 months to date of 2023, the World Steel Association reports total production for 71 countries stands at 1.715 billion metric tons, or 0.5% higher than last year’s January-November total. Total 2022 production was 1.875 billion metric tons, -4.2% less than 2021 and the first annual decrease in production since 2015.

World Steel’s monthly raw-steel production report summarizes output from nations 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.)

In October World Steel issued a short-term forecast for global steel consumption, predicting that 2023 demand will grow just +1.8% year-over-year over 2022, to 1.814 billion metric tons. 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.

Most of the largest steelmaking nations have reduced output during recent months: In China, by far the world’s largest steelmaking nation, output fell -3.9% from October to 76.1 million metric tons in November, which is essentially even (0.4%) with its November 2022 total. For the January-November period, Chinese steel output stands at 874.7 million metric tons, or 1.5% higher than last year’s 11-month total.

In India, raw steel production dropped -3.4% from October to 11.7 million metric tons during November – a figure that is 11.4% higher than the November 2022 total. For the current year to date, Indian steelmakers have produced 116.3 million metric tons, which is 12.1% higher than the 2022 11-month result.

The Japanese steel industry produced 7.1 million metric tons during November, -5.6% less than their October total and even (-0.9%) with their November 2022 result. With a current year’s total of 72.9 million metric tons, Japan’s industry is trailing the year-ago total by -2.8%.

In the United States, November raw-steel output of 6.6 million metric tons (5.9 million short tons) is a -3.0% drop from October’s output, but it is 6.1% higher than last November’s total. From January through November, U.S. steelmakers have produced 67.4 million metric tons (60.2 million short tons), which is essentially equal (-0.5%) to the comparable result for January-November 2022.

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