World Steel Assn.
Chinas steelmakers started out 2013 at full steam but the rest of the worlds steelmaking nations are showing only modest increases over January 2012 results or already are behind that moderate level of output

Global Steel Output Starts Tepid for 2013

Feb. 24, 2013
China, Asia strong for January U.S. is-5.6% off pace Germany solid, rest of EU trails

Global raw steel production totaled 124.8 million metric tons during January, according to data collected by the World Steel Assn.  The amount represents a rise of nearly 2.9% over the 121.3 million metric tons produced during December 2012, but just 0.8% more than the 123.8 million tons produced worldwide during January 2012.

The Association added that the global raw steel capacity utilization for its 62 member countries declined to 71.2% in January, from 73.2% in December. It noted that the current rate represents a year-on-year decline of -5.5%. 

The World Steel Assn. represents steelmakers in 62 countries. Last month, the group reported global output for 2012 rose 1.2% over the prior year, despite decreases in European and South American production.

“Raw” or crude steel is the term describing the product of electric arc furnaces and basic oxygen furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel Assn. totals represent carbon and carbon alloy steels; Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

January’s results among different nations and regions varied considerably. China, which far outdistances all other steel-producing nations in terms of volume, produced 59,339 million metric tons of raw steel last month, an increase of 2.9% above its December output (57,656 million metric tons), but 4.6% more than its output during January 2012 (57,656 million metric tons.)

Japan is the world’s second-largest steelmaking nation by volume, and its January result of 8,865 million metric tons also showed steady improvement. It is a 3.45% improvement on December output, 8,569 million metric tons; and a 2.7% rise over the January 2012 result.

South Korea is another of the world’s top-ten steelmaking nations (sixth by 2012 volume) and its raw steel production was 5,811 million metric tons in January 2013, -0.4% lower than January 2012. Compared to January 2012 production, 5,775 million metric tons, that country’s recent result is 0.4% lower.

As a region, Asia’s 82,325 million metric tons produced during January represented a 2.4% improvement over December, and a 3.97% increase on the January 2012 report.

North American, European results

The United States is the world’s third-largest steel producing nation, and January raw steel production totaled 7,260 metric tons, a 2.6% rise over December’s total of 7,074 million metric tons. However, the year-on-year result is off pace by -5.8% from the January 2012 figure of 7,708 million metric tons.

As a region, North America produced 10,139 million metric tons in January, just 0.5% more than the December output of 10,087 million metric tons, and -3.0% compared to January 2012 output of 10,451 million metric tons.

In the European Union, Germany stands out as the largest producer. Its January output was 3.550 million metric tons, 15.8% better than the December output, 3,064 million metric tons; and 5.4% better than the January 2012 result, 33,367 million metric tons.

For the entire E.U. region though, the report is less rosy. January raw steel tonnage totaled 13,452 million metric tons, 12.3% better than December (11,975 million metric tons), but -5.0% less than the January 2012 total of 14,157 million metric tons.

Other countries in the region had year-on-year declines, too: Italy’s raw steel production fell -19.7% to 1.8 million metric tons; France’s total was 1.4 million metric tons, down -1.3%; and Spain produced 1.1 million metric tons, -2.5% lower than January 2012.

Russia’s January raw steel output in January was 5,705 million metric tons, -1.4% less than the December total of 5,788 million metric tons; and -5.7% less than the January 2012 total of 6,049 million metric tons.

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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