World Steel Assoc.
Fewer days of operation accounts for much of the month-to-month decline seen in February’s results, though trends recent monthly trends showing slower rates of expansion appeared to continue.

Global Steel Production Fell +8% in February

March 22, 2014
Capacity utilization, +0.7% Chinese tonnage, -9.6% U.S. tonnage, -8.7%

Raw steel production totaled 124.99 million metric tons worldwide during February, a decline of 8.6% from the revised January total, 136.7 million metric tons – but just 0.6% more than the total for February 2013. The new result brings the total volume for 2014 to 261,686 million metric tons, 1.6% more than the two-month total for 2013.

Production and capacity utilization data for 65 countries is reported by Brussels-based World Steel Assn., which reports the results monthly basis. The report covers raw (or “crude”) steel, the primary output of electric arc furnaces and basic oxygen furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. It combines results for carbon and carbon alloy steel output; stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

In addition to the production data, World Steel reported that raw steel capacity utilization rose slightly worldwide during February, to 77.6%, which is 0.7% more than during January. The current rate is 2.0% lower than the rate for February 2013, however.

The Association estimated Chinese steel output at 62.1 million metric tons for the month, which would be down 9.6% from the revised January output (68.7 million metric tons), but up 6.2% from the February 2013 result. Year-to-date raw steel production in China is estimated now at 130.8 million metric tons, a 1.7% rise over the first two months of 2013.

Japanese steelmakers produced 8.4 million metric tons during February 2014, down 10.2% from January but up 1.4% over February 2013.

In South Korea, raw steel production fell 12.4 from January to 5.3 million metric tons in February 2014, an increase of 6.2% over February 2013.

Year-on-Year Improvements for E.U.

Across the European Union, total steel output fell 3.8% for January to 13.9 million metric tons. The year-to-date result for the EU is 28,407 million metric tons, up 6.6% versus the same period of 2012.

In Germany, raw steel output totaled 3.6 million metric tons of raw steel in February, declining 2.9% from January but rising 4.2% compared to February 2013.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.2 million metric tons of raw steel last month, down 2.1% from January but up by 3.6% over February 2013.

In France, the total fell to 1.2 million metric tons, down 8.1% from January and down 3.9% from February 2013.

In February 2014, Russian producers’ output totaled 5.3 million metric tons of raw steel, a decline of 10.0% from January, and 3.1% compared to February 2013.

Ukraine’s steel production fell 5.7% from January to 2.3 million metric tons in February, which was down 10.7% versus February 2013.

Brazil, South America’s largest steel producing nation, had an output of 2.6 million metric tons during February, a drop of 4.7% from January but down just 0.1% from February 2013.

Finally, U.S. raw steel production was 6.7 million metric tons during February, down 8.7% from January, and 1.7% off the pace of February 2013.

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