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Global Steel Output Inching Upward

Total tonnage rose to 151.5 million metric tons during October, barely higher than September, but the year-to-date total is up to 1.5 billion metric tons, 3.3% higher than 2018.

Global raw steel production for October 2019 was 151.5 million metric tons, a up just 0.26% from September but falling -2.8% below the October 2018 total. For the current year-to-date, global steel production has risen 3.2% over January-through-October 2018, to 1.54 billion metric tons.

The data is supplied by the World Steel Assn. and incorporates the results of raw-steel production in 64 countries worldwide. "Raw steel" is the product of 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.

The October totals reconfirm a recent short-term forecast issued recently by World Steel, which pegged total 2019 global steel production at 3.9% higher year-over-year, mainly due to unexpected strength in Chinese steel consumption. The global economic picture remains plagued by weak sectoral demand and trade barriers, but steel production 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.

China's extraordinary share of total global raw-steel production means that its domestic market conditions or economic policy directives will shape the global market picture. In October, China’s raw-steel production decreased 1.5% from September to 81.5 million metric tons, a decrease of -0.6% compared to October 2018.

For the year to-date, Chinese steelmakers have produced 829,215 million metric tons of raw steel, 7.4% more than during January-October 2018. World Steel Assn. forecasts that 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.

In 2020, Chinese steel demand is seen growing by 1.0%, while the rest of the world will have demand growth of 2.5%.

Among the world's other top five steelmaking nations:
-  India's steelmakers produced 9.1 million metric tons during October, -3.7% less than during October 2018, and have produced 93.3 million metric tons YTD, +2.8% over last year.
-  Japanese producers' October output was 8.2 million metric tons, down -4.9% versus last October, and their 83.8 million metric tons produced YTD are down -3.9% compared to last year.
-  South Korean steelmakers' October output was 5.99 million metric tons or raw steel during October, -3.5% less than during October 2018. The nation's 10-month total for 2019 stands at 60.1 million metric tons, a decrease of just -0.4% over last year's January-October result.

The U.S. steel industry, ranked fourth overall in the world by tonnage, produced 7.4 million metric tons of raw steel (8.2 million short tons) during October 2019, 5.8% more than during September but -2.0% than during  October 2018. For the January-October 2019 period, U.S. producers' output totaled 73.96 million metric tons (81.53 million short tons), or 2.5% more during the comparable period of last year.

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