Raw steel production totaled 139.3 million metric tons worldwide during May 2015, up 3.2% from April, though 2.1% less than the May 2014 result. The latest figures represent the world’s highest monthly tonnage result to-date during 2015. The five-month total for the current year rose to 675.6 million metric tons – 1.9% less than the comparable result for January-May 2014.
Also during May, raw steel capacity utilization across 65 countries was 72.1%, down 0.4% from the April rate and down 3.4% from the May 2014 rate.
The World Steel Association, a trade association that includes steelmakers from 65 nations, reports data for raw steel production and capacity utilization on a monthly basis.
Raw steel (or “crude” steel) is the product of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel’s results include data for carbon and carbon alloy steel output. Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.
Chinese steel production continues to represent roughly half of all global steel output, and that nation’s 70.0 million metric tons of raw steel produced during May signaled a 1.5% increase from the April result, but -1.7% decrease compared to May 2014. With 340.2 million metric tons of output during the first five months of this year, China’s steelmakers are 1.6% behind the January-May total for 2014.
Japan, the world’s second largest steelmaking nation, produced 8.9 million metric tons of raw steel during May, 6.1% more than during April but 7.0% less than during May 2014. The nation’s year-to-date steel production total stands at 44.1 million metric tons, 4.4% less than the comparable total for 2014.
South Korea, also among the world’s largest raw steel producing nations, had 6.0 million metric tons of output during May, 5.1% more than during April but 2.6% less than during May 2014. South Korea’s January-May tonnage output stands at 28.7 million metric tons, down 5.1% compared to the first five months of 2014.
Across the 28 nations of the European Union, raw steel production during May rose 6.0% from April, but was up just 0.7% from May 2014. The region has produced 73.2 million metric tons for year-to-date, which is just 0.1% down compared to the same period of 2014.
Within the EU, the largest producer nation is Germany – which produced 3.7 million metric tons of raw steel during May, up 2.8% from April but down 5.4% compared to May 2014. German steelmakers’ year-to-date production total is 18.4 million metric tons, down 2.9% compared to last year’s comparable result.
Italy is the EU’s second largest steelmaking nation, and its producers had a May tonnage output of 2.0 million metric tons, 7.9% more than during April but 12.5% less than during May 2014. During January-May 2015, Italian steelmakers produced 9.8 million metric tons, 10.2% less than the five-month result for 2014.
Russian steelmakers produced 6.1 million metric tons of raw steel during May, up 1.7% from April and down 1.95% from May 2014. The country’s year-to-date total stands at 30.3 million metric tons, or 3.2% more than the January-May 2014 total.
In Ukraine, raw steel production during May was 2.2 million metric tons, or 12.9% more than during April, but down 23.0% compared to the May 2014 total. Ukrainian steelmakers have produced 9.3 million metric tons during the first five months of this year, 28.3% less than during January-May 2014.
In Brazil, raw steel production during May totaled 2.98 million metric tons, rising 2.97% from April and 3.8% from May 2014. The nation’s five-month production total for 2015 is 14.3 million metric tons, or 1.9% more than the comparable result for 2014.
Finally, in the United States raw steel production during May was 6.8 million metric tons, up 6.6% from April and down 8.5% from May 2014. The year-to-date production total for U.S. steelmakers is 33.13 million metric tons, or 36.5 million short tons, a decrease of -8.5% compared to the January-May 2014 total.