Raw steel is the output of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces that is cast into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets (seen here.) The World Steel Association reports tonnage and capacity utilization data for carbon and carbon alloy steel in 66 nations; production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are not included.

Global Steel Production Down 7% to Start 2016

Feb. 23, 2016
Tonnage remains even from December to January, but year-over-year comparison shows industrial weakness worldwide China -7.8%, year/year U.S. -8.8%, year/year Capacity, -5.8% year/year

Global raw steel production remained essential flat from December to January, +0.79%, and finishing the first month of 2016 at 127.7 million metric tons. That total, however, was 7.1% less than the January 2015 raw steel tonnage, a rate of decline that was reflected in all the major steel producing nations.

The data is supplied by the Brussels-based World Steel Association, which tracks raw (or ‘crude’) steel production and capacity utilization on a monthly basis for its 66 member nations.

Last fall, World Steel Assn. forecast continued weak demand for steel products, predicting global steel demand would grow 0.7% to 1.523 billion metric tons by the end of 2016. 2015 steel production.

China, by far the world’s largest steel-producing nation, saw a 1.8% decline from December to 63.2 million metric tons. That result is down 7.8% from the January 2015 tonnage.

Chinese central planners have been working to consolidate the number of steel producers and eliminate excess production capacity, but the nation is also working its way through a prolonged industrial slowdown, and its export opportunities are limited by weak global industrial activity.

In Japan, raw steel production totaled 8.8 million metric tons in January, up 2.1% from December but down 2.8% versus January 2015.

India steelmakers also increased their output from December to January, up 1.8% to 7.4 million metric tons, but that total is down 1.2% compared to January 2015.

The South Korean industry produced 5.7 million metric tons of raw steel in January, down 3.95% from the previous month, and down by 4.5% compared to January 2015

Raw steel production was generally strong in the European Union during January, up 17.15% from December across the 28-nation region. Most steelmakers in the region schedule extended maintenance and or expansion projects during December to coincide with Christmas holiday schedules. Even so, the EU-28 was off the January 2015 pace by 7.63%.

The largest steelmaking nation in the region, Germany, produced 3.6 million metric tons of raw steel during January 2016, up 20.7% from December but down 2.0% compared to January 2015.

Italy’s industry produced 1.8 million metric tons of raw steel during January, 20.45% more than during December but 5.3% less than during January 2015.

Raw steel production in Spain was up 21.2% from December, to 1.2 million metric tons. That figure is down 9.5% compared to January 2015.

In Turkey, raw steel production for January 2016 was down 2.74% from December to 2.6 million metric tons, but that figure is up slightly (0.8%) over the January 2015 result.

Russian steelmakers produced 5.6 million metric tons of raw steel during January, 6.65% less than during December and 10.6% less than during January 2015. Steelmakers in Ukraine produced 1.9 million metric tons of raw steel during January, up 1.97% from December and up 3.6% from January 2015.

The Brazilian steel industry produced 2.5 million metric tons during January declining only 0.43% from December but down 17.9% compared to January 2015.

Finally, steelmakers in the U.S. produce 6.6 million metric tons (7.27 million short tons) of raw steel during January, 9.66% more than the December output but 8.8% less than during January 2015.

Global raw steel capacity utilization during January 2016 was 66.0%, down 0.8% from December’s capacity rate and down 5.8% from the January 2015 rate.

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