Global steel production rebounded during March with 155 million metric tons produced across 64 countries following tepid results during January and February. In fact, the results were especially solid in China and the U.S., while other major steel-producing nations delivered totals that were down or flat for the latest month.
Through the first quarter of 2019, global raw-steel production was 444.1 million metric tons, up by 4.5% compared to January-February 2018.
The data is provided by the World Steel in its monthly raw-steel production report, which presents output from about 99% of the world’s installed capacity.
Raw steel is produced in basic-oxygen and electric-arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, like billets, blooms, and slabs. Most raw steel is produced on contract for large manufacturers, like automotive, appliance, and machinery builders. Less predictable is the amount produced for construction markets or for service centers and distributors.
China’s steel industry, which regularly produces about half of all steel produced worldwide, produced 80.3 million metric tons during March, up 13.2% from February and up 10.0% from March 2018. During the first quarter of 2019, China’s steel industry has produced 231.1 million metric tons, a 9.9% increase over the first-quarter results for 2018.
Across the rest of the Asian region, raw-steel production totaled 109.1 million metric tons, an increase of 7.4% from March 2018. The regional year-to-date result is 312.9 million metric tons, a 7.0% increase over the first-quarter of 2018.
In the European Union, the March total raw-steel production of 14.99 million metric tons indicated a -1.2% decrease over March 2018. The three-month total for the region is 42.3 million metric tons, a decline of -2.0% from January-March 2018.
In the U.S., steelmakers produced 7.75 million metric tons ( short tons) during March, 11.4% more than during February, and 5.7% more than during March 2018. For the year-to-date, U.S. producers’ raw-steel output is up to 22.23 million metric tons, a 6.8% rise over the total for January-March 2018.