While the worldrsquos steelmakers increased total output by 33 from April to May global rawsteel capacity utilization declined 02 and 07 versus May 2013

Steel Production Rising Worldwide in May, Year-to-Date

June 22, 2014
Strong rates of increase in production across all regions and major producing nations  China, Asian dominance continues Germany back on track Steady progress in the Americas

Global raw steel production increased 3.3% from April to May, to a total of 141.2 million metric tons. Among the largest steelmaking nations listed by the World Steel Association, the U.S. steel industry increased its tonnage output by 6.2 from the previous month, though improvement was widespread among national industries and the eight regional markets included in the monthly report.

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.

The May results bring the year-to-date total to 684.2 million metric tons of raw steel produced, an increase of 2.4% over the January-May 2013 total. 

World Steel reported global raw-steel capacity utilization was 78.5%, falling 0.2% from April, and 0.7% from May 2013.

China continues to overwhelm the rest of the world by the total volume of raw steel produced, but its rate of increase during May and for the year-to-date is small compared to South Korea, Germany, and Italy – all of which continue to rank high among the world’s largest steel-producing nations.

China remains the world’s largest steelmaking nation, with 70.4 million metric tons of output in May, a 2.3% rise over April’s output and a 2.6% improvement over the May 2013 total. With a year-to-date total of 342.5 million metric tons, China is now 2.7% ahead of last year’s five-month total.

The Asian region’s raw steel output was 95.1 million metric tons in May, up 2.5% for the month, and 2.6% year-on-year. The region has produced 462.45 million metric tons for the current year, up 2.8% over the 2013 year-to-date total.

Elsewhere in Asia, Japan produced 9.6 million metric ton of raw steel in May 2014, a 7.3% increase over April but a decline of -0.3% over May 2013.  The nation — which is a distant second among the rankings of the world’s largest steelmaking nations — has produced 46.1 million metric tons during the current year, 1.5% more than during the comparable period of 2013.

India’s steel output in May was 7.08 million metric tons, 0.9% more than in April and 1.6% more than in May 2013. The year-to-date total is 34.7 million metric tons, 1.9% more than over the first five months of 2013.

South Korea’s raw steel production was 6.2 million metric tons in May 2014, up 1.1% from April and up 11.4% versus May 2013. That country produced 30.03 million metric tons over five months this year, an improvement of 8.7% over January-May 2013.

Rebounds in EU and its Members

Steelmaking in the European Union (28 nations) total 15.04 million metric tons in May, a 2.9% increase over April and a 2.7% increase over May 2013. The region’s year-to-date total is 73.3 million metric tons, 4.6% more than at the same point in 2013.

The German steel industry produced 3.9 million metric tons of raw steel in May, 5.8% more than in April and 7.3% more than in May 2013. For the year-to-date, German steelmakers have 18.9 million metric tons, 4.9% more than during January-May 2013.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.3 million metric ton of raw steel last month, 12.6% more than during April but 0.8% less compared to May 2013.

In Turkey, which is accounted among non-EU European producers, raw steel production for May was 3.0 million metric tons, up 15.1% from April but down by 0.7% on May 2013. That nation’s year-to-date raw-steel tonnage is now 14.07 million metric tons, or -2.2% versus the first five months’ output for 2013.

Russia produced 6.1 million metric tons of raw steel during May, 4.4% more than during April, and 0.6% more than during May 2013. Russia’s year-to-date total is 28.99 million metric tons, or 0.3% more than was produced over the comparable period of 2013.

In Ukraine, May raw steel out was 2.8 million metric tons, up 7.3% over April’s output, and up by 2.2% over May 2013’s output. Compared to the January-May 2013 period, the current year’s cumulative output of 12.9% is down 7.1%.

North American regional steel production was 10.2 million metric tons during May, up 5% versus April, and up 3.3% versus May 2013 output. The region (which includes the NAFTA nations, plus Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Trinidad) has produced 49.96 million metric tons, which is 1.5% more than during January-May 2013.

The U.S. raw steel production during May was 7.5 million metric tons (8.27 million short tons), up 6.2% over April’s output and up 1.4% compared to May 2013. For the first five months of this year, raw steel tonnage is up 0.7% over the same period of 2013.

Finally, Brazilian steelmakers produced 2.9 million metric tons during May, which was up 4.0% over April but down 4.3% over May 2013. That nation’s year-to-date total raw steel production is 14.01 million metric tons, down 0.8% over the January-May 2013 period.

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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