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Oxy-torch cutting following continuous billet casting.

Global Steel Output Drops Again

May 28, 2024
Steelmakers in all of the largest producer-nations reduced their tonnages as the second quarter started, leaving the current YTD totals unchanged basically unchanged from last year.

Global steel production fell -3.5% from March to April, totaling 155.7 million metric tons to start the second quarter of 2024. That result reflects month-to-month output reductions in all of the top steel-producing nations, and places the April figure at -5.0% less than April 2023.

For the January-April period, global production stands at 625.4 million metric tons, which is nearly even (-0.9%) with the four-month total for steel output in 2023.

The figures are provided by the World Steel Association, which presents raw-steel production data for 71 member countries representing 97.0% of global raw-steel capacity.

In April, World Steel issued a semi-annual short-term outlook for global steel consumption, forecasting a +1.7% rise in demand for 2024 to 1.793 billion metric tons, about 19 million metric tons less than was forecast in a comparable study issued six months ago. That report also foresees steel demand growing by just 1.2% in 2025, to 1.815 billion metric tons. That would be 34 million metric tons below the forecast amount from October 2023.

According to the forecasters, weakness in global steel demand is paired with market volatility thanks to the lagging effects of monetary tightening, high prices, and high geopolitical uncertainties.

The April production totals apparently reflect steelmakers efforts to counter those factors. In China, the world’s largest steelmaking nation, April output of 85.9 million metric tons is a -2.8% drop from March and a -7.2% decrease from the April 2023 result. For the current year to-date, Chinese producers account for 343.7 million metric tons of raw steel – more than half of the total produced worldwide, and yet =3.0% less than their January-April 2023 performance.

Indian steelmakers produced 12.1 million metric tons during April, -5.0% less than during March but 3.6% more than during April 2023. The current-year total for India’s industry is 49.5 million metric tons of raw steel, 8.5% higher than last year’s comparable result.

Japan’s steel industry produced 7.1 million metric tons of raw steel during April, -1.4% less than in March and -2.5% less than in April 2023. Through April, 2024 Japanese raw steel output stands at 28.5 million metric tons, which is -1.2% less than last year’s four-month result.

U.S. steelmakers produced 6.7 million metric tons (7.4 million short tons) of raw steel during April, -3.0% less than during March and -2.8% less than during April 2023. The YTD output for U.S. steelmakers is 26.5 million metric tons (29.2 million short tons), which is a -2.2% decline from the comparable period of 2023.

The World Steel Assn.’s monthly report totals carbon steel produced in basic-oxygen or electric arc furnaces and cast into semi-finished forms like billets for bar and rod products; slabs for flat products; or blooms, for beam and pipe products. (Specialty and stainless steel volumes are not included.)

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