Global output of raw steel slipped -2.42% from August to September, to 151.5 million metric tons in the latest monthly summary supplied by the World Steel Assn. The September result is essentially even with the September 2018 raw-steel total, but it raises 2019 year-to-date output to 1.4 billion metric tons, up by 3.9% compared to the same nine-month period in 2018.
The result conforms with the recent short-term forecast issued by the World Steel Assn., which is a bit more positive than one published six months earlier, mainly due to unexpected strength in Chinese steel consumption. The global economic picture remains plagued by weak sectoral demand and trade barriers, but is overshadowed by the scale of Chinese steel production: the Chinese industry represents about half of the installed global steel capacity. According to World Steel, steel demand in China will grow by 7.8% this year to 900.1 million metric tons — whereas the rest of the world will see just 0.2% growth to 874.9 million metric tons.
During September 2019, the Chinese industry produced 82.8 million metric tons of raw steel, -5.13% less than the August output but 2.2% more than the September 2018 total. For the current year to-date, Chinese steelmakers have produced 747.8 million metric tons of raw steel, which is 8.4% more than last year’s January-September tonnage total.
Elsewhere, among the top five steelmaking producers worldwide:
Indian steelmakers produced 9.0 million metric tons of raw steel during September 2019, 1.6% more than during September 2018, and have produced 84.2 million metric tons year-to-date, a 3.5% increase over 2018.
The Japanese steel industry produced 8.0 million metric tons of raw steel during September 2019, a decrease of -4.5% versus September 2018 output, and its January-September 2019 total is 75.6 million metric tons -3.8% year-to-date decline.
In South Korea, raw-steel production during September was 5.7 million metric tons, -2.7% compared to September 2018. The 2019 South Korean raw-steel output stands at 54.1 million metric tons, about even (-0.1%) with the nine-month total for 2018.
U.S. raw-steel output declined -4.4% from August to September, to 7.1 million metric tons during September 2019, which is -2.5% less than the September 2018 total. During the January-September period, U.S. steelmakers produced 66.2 million metric tons, an increase of 3.2% compared to the comparable nine-month period of 2018.