Elchin Javadov | Dreamstime
Continuous casting steel billets.

Global Steel Production Inches Forward

Feb. 26, 2024
Output is virtually unchanged from one year ago, as steelmakers pursue a flatline approach to output against scarce demand from industrial and construction markets.

Global steel production rose more than 8.0% from December to January, up to 148.1 million metric tons across 71 nations. Still, the new figure is merely 0.5% higher than the January 2023 output, as major producing markets continue to take a flatline approach to steel production. The exception, of course, is the Chinese market, which dropped -6.9% below its year-ago total.

Monthly raw steel production data is provided by the World Steel Association. In the past year, monthly production has wavered within a very narrow range, and World Steel has cited falling demand from industrial and construction markets for only minor growth in steel consumption.

In a typical month China’s steel industry produces more than all the rest of the world’s producers combined. For January, the total output was 77.2 million metric tons of raw steel, or about 52.0% of the world’s total. That figure represents a 12.7% rise over the December result, but is -6.9% below the total reported for China in January 2023, and point toward the ongoing downsizing of the Chinese steel industry as well as uncertain demand from industrial and construction sectors there.

The second-largest in world Indian steel industry produced 12.5 million metric tons of raw steel during January. That total is 3.2% higher than the December output and 7.3% higher than the January 2023 result. Among all the world’s largest steelmaking nations, India’s is the only one to maintain steady growth during the past two years.

In Japan, steel production in January totaled 7.3 million metric tons, 4.1% more than in December but just 0.6% more than in January 2023.

The U.S. steel industry produced 6.8 million tons of raw steel in January, the same amount that it produced in December, and virtually even (-0.3%) with the January 2023 result.

Russian steelmakers’ January output was estimated at 6.2 million metric tons, 3.2% more than in December and 1.2% more than in January 2023.

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.)