Raw steel production totaled 143.2 million metric tons worldwide during July, continuing a trend of rising output that reverses a multi-year drift – and challenges reliable forecasts of weak short-term demand. The World Steel Assn. reported the July total, indicating a 1.35% rise over the June total, and a 6.25% increase over the July 2016 result.
For the seven months of 2017, global steel production, according to the World Steel Assn. stands at 977.3 million metric tons, 4.45% higher than last year’s January-July total.
The World Steel Assn. reports monthly raw-steel output and capacity utilization for 67 nations. Raw (or crude) steel is produced by basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel’s monthly report covers carbon and carbon alloy steels; data for production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are reported separately.
Worldwide raw-steel capacity utilization during July fell 1.5% from June, to 72.1%. That still represents a 3.2% increase over the July 2016 capacity utilization rate.
Recently, World Steel forecast that the current recovery will remain modest through 2018, explaining that steel demand remains vulnerable political and industrial-market uncertainty in the world’s major steelmaking regions, particularly in China.
In July Chinese steelmakers produced 74.02 million metric tons during July, which is slightly more (1.08%) than in June but 10.05% more than during July 2016. For the year-to-date, they have increased their output by 4.77%, countering expectations that that an officially directed capacity-consolidation program would concentrate their efforts on domestic demand rather than exports.
Japanese steelmakers produced 8.58 million metric tons during July, 2.1% more than during June but 4.3% less than during July 2016. Their YTD total is nearly even (-0.17%) than 2016’s seven-month output.
The still expanding Indian steel industry produced 8.4 million metric tons of raw steel during July, 2.94% higher than the June output and 3.5% more than during July 2016. India’s January-July output total is 5.35% higher than last year’s comparable figure.
Steel production in South Korea produced 6.2 million metric tons of raw steel during July, 4.1% more than during June and 2.4% more than during July 2016. Their running total for 2017 is 3.55% more than last year’s tonnage.
In the European Union, total raw steel production for the 28 nations was 13.65 million metric tons last month, falling off the June total by 3.89% but still 4.33% higher than the year-over-year figure. Through July, the EU 28 have produced 99.6 million metric tons, or 3.9% more than last year’s seven-month total.
In Germany, the region’s largest market, steelmakers produced 3.5 million metric tons of raw steel during July, 3.85% more than during June and 3.6% compared to July 2016. The German YTD output is 1.91% higher than during the January-July 2016 period.
The Italian industry produced 2.12 million metric tons of raw steel during July, 3.23% less than during June but still 1.7% more than during July 2017. For the year-to-date, Italian steelmakers have produced 14.5 million metric tons, an YTD improvement of 1.63%.
Steelmakers in France produced 1.15 million metric tons during July, a drop of 2.46% from June but a 1.68% rise over June 2016 results. The seven-month total tonnage in France stands at 9.07 million metric tons, 8.5% higher than last year’s comparable total.
In Spain, July raw steel production fell 8.0% from June, down to an estimated 1.0 million metric tons, and still that figure is 8.1% over the July 2016 total. Through seven months, Spanish steelmakers have increased their total output by 1.5%.
Looking beyond the EU, Russia’s steel industry reported July production of 5.85 million metric tons, 4.6% more than during June but 8.3% less than during July 2016. Their year-to-date production total is 40.9 million metric tons, nearly even (-0.48%) with the total for January-July 2016.
Producers in Ukraine had a July output of 1.8 million metric tons, 13.6% higher than the June total but 12.9% lower than the July 2016 result. For the year-to-date, steelmakers in that country have produced 12.3 million metric tons, 15.0% less than last year’s comparable total.
Raw steel production in Turkey increased 10.7% from June to July, totaling 3.3 million metric tons for the latest month. That represents a 25.9% improvement over last July’s total output, and brings Turkish steelmakers’ YTD total tonnage to 21.6 million metric tons, a rise of 13.63% over last year’s figure.
Brazilian steelmakers produced 2.8 million metric tons last month, 6.9% more than during June and 0.95% more than during July 2016. Through July, their year-to-date output is 19.55 million metric tons, a 10.6% improvement over last year’s seven-month total.
Last, steelmakers in the U.S. produced 7.07 million metric tons (7.79 million short tons) during July, 4.09% more than during June but 8.26% less than during July 2016. Their January-July 2017 tonnage totals 47.75 million metric tons (52.6 million short tons), 2.13% higher than last year’s seven-month production total.