Raw steel is produced in basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, such as billets (shown here), blooms, and slabs. After rolling the billets to final dimensions, steel billets are used to form a range of commodity-grade and specialty bar, rod, and wire products.

Rising Global Steel Output Challenges Pricing Trend

Nov. 25, 2018
With carbon steel prices declining in regional markets, steelmakers worldwide produced 156.6 million metric tons during October, +3.43% from September and +5.8% from October 2017

Global steel production increased to 156.6 million metric tons during October, up 3.43% from September’s total, and up 5.8% from October 2017. The increase challenges indications of falling steel prices in carbon steel spot prices, but confirms a recent World Steel Assn. forecast for slow but steady rises in steel output.

The World Steel Assn. reports raw-steel output for 64 countries, representing about 99% of the world’s raw-steel production output. The October totals bring 2018 year-to-date steel production to 1.5 billion metric tons, a rise of 5.32% over the 10-month total for 2017.

Raw steel is produced in basic-oxygen and electric-arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, like billets, blooms, and slabs. Last month, World Steel issued its semi-annual short-range outlook and pegged 2018 demand volume at 1.66 billion metric tons — 42 million metric tons higher than the last forecast six months ago. It noted that the risks to demand growth also have increased during the interim period.

China, the world’s largest steel producer and largest steel consuming nation, produced 82.6 million metric tons during October, 2.11% more than September but 9.1% more than in October 2017. While the country’s industrial and economic policy have been working to reduce excess capacity and encourage domestic consumption over exports, Chinese year-to-date output is up 7.6% over the 10-month result from last year.

India’s steel industry also continued to expand. Steelmakers there produced 8.8 million metric tons during October, up  2.94% from September, but less than 1.0% from October 2017. Year-to-date production there is up 5.55%.

Japanese steelmakers produced 8.6 million metric tons of raw steel in October 2018, 1.6% more than September and a decrease of 4.5% compared to October 2017. The Japanese industry has remained almost even in its year-to-date output, standing now at -0.06% versus the 10-month result for 2017.

In South Korea, raw-steel output rose 5.8% from September to October, to 6.2 million metric tons. That is 3.5% higher than October 2017, and pushes year-to-date output to 60.3 million metric tons, up 2.15% over last year.

Germany, the largest steel-producing nation in Europe, had an estimated October output of 3.6 million metric tons, 1.6% more than September but 4.5% lower than October 2017. It would raise the YTD total to 35.5 million metric tons, down 2.43% versus 2017.

In Italy, October output of 2.3 million metric tons represents a 5.9% month-to-month increase, and a 1.1% year-over-year increase. It boosts year-to-date production to 20.6 million metric tons, a 2.7% rise from January-October 2017.

French steelmakers produced 1.3 million metric tons of raw steel during October, 2.4% less than during September and 3.5% less than during last October. Their YTD output is 12.9 million metric tons, down 1.4% versus last year.

The Spanish steel industry produces 1.3 million metric tons during October, a 9.14% improvement over September but a 7.4% decline from October 2017. The 10-month result is 11.9 million metric tons, a 1.32% decline.

Across the 28-nation EU region, raw steel production totaled 14.7 million metric tons last month, up 8.14% from September, down less than 1% less than last October, and just slightly (-0.4%) behind last year’s 10-month total.

In Russia, October steel production of 6.02 million metric tons represented a 3.3% rise over September but is nearly even (0.6%) with October 2017. The nation’s year-to-date raw-steel production stands at 60.29 million metric tons, 1.62% higher than last year’s comparable result.

Steelmakers in Ukraine produced 1.78 million metric tons during October, even (0.06%) with September but 6.73% less than the October 2017 figure. Year-to-date raw-steel output of 17.57 million metric tons is only a fraction less than last year’s 10-month total.

Brazilian steel production during October totaled to 3.13 million metric tons, a 3.4% increase over September and a 2.97% increase over October 2017. The nation’s year-to-date raw-steel output is 29.23 million metric tons, 2.54% more than the January-October 2017 result.

Finally, U.S. raw-steel production during October was 7.57 million metric tons (8.34 million short tons), 4.36% more than in September and 10.5% more than in October 2017. For the year-to-date, U.S. steelmakers have produced 71.74 million metric tons (79.1 million short tons), 5.14% more than their January-October 2017 output.

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