The robust increases in raw steel production from February to March reflect the longer month, while the more modest expansion from March 2013 is in line with current global and regional trends.

March Steel Tonnage Up Over 10% Worldwide

April 22, 2014
Stronger in Asia than E.U., North America Chinese production +2.4% YTD Capacity flags from 2013

Global raw steel production totaled 141.3 million metric tons during March, a rise of 10.7% from the revised total for February, and 2.7% from March 2013.  The increase was more pronounced in Asia (+15.9%) than in the European Union (+10.9%) or in North America, and the year-to-date total for worldwide production (405.7 million metric tons) rose just 2.5% from the January-March 2013 period.

Recently, the World Steel Assn. issued a near-term forecast for steel consumption, predicting steel demand would rise 3.15% worldwide for 2014.

Production and capacity utilization data for 65 countries is maintained by the Brussels-based World Steel Assn., which reports the results monthly basis. The report reflects 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.

China remains the largest steel producing nation by volume, with March raw steel production totaling 70.25 million metric tons, and increase of 13.2% from February, and 2.2% from March 2013. Chinese production is up 2.4% YTD versus the same three-month period of 2013.

Japanese steelmakers produced 9.73 million metric tons last month, 15.3% more than the previous month and 2.9% more than in March 2013. The January-March period has seen a 3.5% increase over the comparable period of last year.

In South Korea, production rose 15.9% from February, totaling 6.1 million metric tons, 8.0% higher than in March 2013. The three-month total is 5.2% higher than during 2013.

E.U., North America, etc.

In Germany, Europe’s largest steelmaking nation, raw steel production totaled 4 million metric tons, rising 13.7% from February to March, and 6.1 from March 2013. The three-month total for 2014 is 4.3% higher than for the previous year.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.4 million metric tons, 7.3% more than during February and 8.0% higher than during March 2013. The current year’s cumulative total is 9.4% higher than the January-March 2013 total.

In France raw steel production totaled 1.4 million metric tons, 4.1% over the March 2013, while in Spain production totaled 1.3 million metric tons, also 4.1% over March 2013.

North American raw steel production total for March was 10.3 million metric tons – 13.1% more than during February but just 1.8% higher than March 2013. YTD, the region is just 0.8% higher than the three-month total for 2013.

U.S. raw steel production was 7.4 million metric tons during March, 10.7% higher than February and 0.9% higher than March 2013. The January-March total is 21.5 million metric tons, or 0.8% more than the same period of 2013.

The World Steel Assn. reported raw steel capacity utilization of 79.0% for its 65 member nations, which is 1.4% higher than during February but 0.4% lower than during March 2013.

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