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Continuous casting, in which molten metal is solidified as a semifinished billet, bloom, or slab for subsequent rolling.

Uptick in Global Steel Production

June 25, 2024
Chinese steel producers reported a significant rise in output in the latest summary, pushing worldwide production to 793.2 million metric tons YTD, and even with the 2023 global rate.

Steel production rose 5.7% worldwide from April to May, and with 165.1 million metric tons produced the industry inched 1.5% ahead of its year-ago total, according to the World Steel Association. The improvements kept the year-to-date total for raw steel production barely even (-0.1%) with the first five months of 2023, with 793.2 million metric tons of steel having been produced for January to May 2024.

The World Steel Assn. tracks raw-steel production for 71 member countries that comprise 97.0% of global capacity. In April, the association 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 anticipated that steel demand will grow 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.

Steelmakers in much of the developed world – notably in Japan, the United States, and European Union – have restrained their outputs to match the level of demand and stabilize steel prices.

The growth revealed by the May 2024 total is mainly the result of rising production volume in China, where the May total of 92.9 million tons of raw steel produced is a 7.5% improvement from April, and a 2.7% improvement from China’s May 2023 tonnage. Through much of the current year Chinese producers have posted results that demonstrate ongoing efforts to control overproduction there, but the 438.6 million tons they have produced YTD shows they have narrowed the decrease to a -1.4% drop from 2023.

In contrast, India’s steelmakers have maintained a steady expansion of steel output throughout the past year, and the 12.2 million metric tons produced in May shows a slight (0.8%) rise from April. It’s also a 3.5% improvement over May 2023, and it brings their 2024 year-to-date total to 61.9 million metric tons, which is 7.7% better than last year’s five-month result.

In Japan, May raw-steel output totaled 7.2 million metric tons, 1.4% more than the April result but down -6.3% from May 2023. From January through May, Japanese steelmakers produce 35.7 million metric tons of raw steel, -2.3% less than last year’s comparable result.

U.S. steelmakers’ May output total was 6.9 million metric tons (7.6 million short tons), a 2.9% improvement over April but a -1.5% decrease from May 2023. For the January-May period, U.S. raw steel production totaled 33.9 million metric tons (36.4 million short tons), a -2.4% year-to-date drop.

The World Steel Assn.’s monthly summary reports the totals for 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.