-2.8% decline in global tonnage fulfills the recent forecast drop in steel consumption
Global raw steel production totaled 1.62 billion metric tons during 2015, down 47.4 million metric tons or -2.8% compared to the 2014 total. Moreover, steel production declined in every region of the world during 2015, except for Australia/New Zealand, and yet China — by far the world’s largest steelmaking nation — managed to slightly increase its global market share.
The data was released by the Brussels-based World Steel Association, which tracks raw (or ‘crude’) steel production and capacity utilization on a monthly basis. The December global tonnage declined 0.1% from November to 126.7 million metric tons, which is down 5.7% from the December 2014 total. It was the second consecutive monthly decline and the fifth time in the past six months that raw steel tonnage fell worldwide.
China’s raw steel production in 2015 fell 2.3% from 2014 to 803.8 million metric tons. However, because the scale of falling production totals around the world, China’s share of world raw steel production increased from 49.3% in 2014 to 49.5% in 2015.
Japan produced 105.2 million metric tons in 2015, down 5.0% compared to 2014. Indian steelmakers increased their output 2.6% from 2014, up to 89.6 million metric tons, and in the process raised their global market share to 5.5%. South Korea’s steelmakers produced 69.7 million metric tons of raw steel in 2015, down 2.6% compared to the 2014 result.
Across the European Union (28 nations), steelmakers produced 166.2 million metric tons of raw steel, a decrease of 1.8% versus 2014. The largest steel-producing country in the EU, Germany, produced 42.7 million metric tons of raw steel in 2015, down 0.6% compared to the previous year. Italian steelmakers produced 22.0 million metric tons in 2015, 7.1% less than during 2014. France’s steel industry producers raw steel production in 2015 was 15.0 million metric tons, down by 7.2%, year over year. Spanish steelmakers produced 14.9 million metric tons of raw steel in 2015, an increase of 4.4% compared to 2014.
The steelmakers of Russia produced 71.1 million metric tons of raw steel in 2015, down just 0.5% compared to 2014. The Ukraine steel industry — much impacted by war in the region — produced 22.9 million metric tons of raw steel last year, 4.3% less than during 2014.
Brazilian steelmakers produced 33.2 million metric tons during 2015, down by 1.9% compared to the 2014 result.
The U.S. steel industry produced 78.9 million metric tons (87 million short tons) of raw steel last year, 10.5% less than during 2014. In the course of that decline, the U.S. industry slipped from third to fourth in the ranking of the world’s largest steelmaking nations.