Global steel production increased 4.7% from April to May, totaling 154.9 million metric tons in the latest monthly tally. The May total is 6.6% higher than the year-ago figure, and the result brings the total for the current year to 729.2 million metric tons, 4.74% higher than the January-May total for 2017.
The data is compiled and reported by the World Steel Assn., which records raw-steel output and capacity utilization by steelmakers in 64 nations, accounting for about 99% of total raw-steel production worldwide. Raw steel is the output of basic-oxygen and electric-arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, like billets, blooms, and slabs.
During the past year raw-steel production has expanded steadily after two years of weak demand and reduced output. Recently, World Steel Assn. forecast that demand for steel used in manufacturing and construction will continue to rise in 2018 and 2019, having regained stability during 2017.
In the new report, global raw-steel capacity ticked up 1.0% from April to 77.7% for May. This is 4.2% higher than the May 2017 utilization rate.
China is the world’s largest steelmaking nation, and its raw-steel production total for May 2018 was 81.1 million metric tons, an increase of 5.8% from April and up 8.9% compared to May 2017.
Chinese steelmakers have produced 369.7 million metric tons of raw steel through the first five months of this year, 6.4% more than the total produced for the January-May 2017 period.
In the European Union (28 nations), raw-steel output increased just 1.63% from April to May, totaling 14.9 million metric tons in the most recent result. That total signifies a 1.8% increase over the May 2017 result, and it brings the five-month running total for 2018 to 73.0 million metric tons, up 1.79% year over year.
In the U.S., steelmakers produced 7.1 million metric tons (7.8 million short tons) during May, 2.7% more than during April and 3.0% more than in May 2017. The January-May raw-steel production total is 34.846 million metric tons (38.4 million short tons), a 2.84% year-over-year increase.