November Global Crude Steel Production Up 5.8% Year Over Year

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Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

Global crude steel production in November jumped 5.8% year over year, the World Steel Association reported today.

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Production from the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association hit 148.6 million tons (MT) in November, continuing an upward production growth trend that began in August. Steel production growth of 5.8% in November jumped from 5.1% in October.

Broken down by key producers, China’s crude steel production reached 77.6 MT, up 10.8% compared to November 2017. The production growth marked an increase from October, when year-over-year growth hit 9.1%.

The increase comes even with the winter heating season underway, with it production cuts aimed at tackling pollution in the country. Unlike last year, however, Beijing opted not to impose blanket cuts, instead delegating the scope of the cuts to local authorities.

Chinese steel rebar prices hit a five-week high this week, but the more relaxed program of winter cuts could see prices continue softening in the coming months. Chinese steel prices have lagged on account of weaker demand and the continued increases in production. However, a comprehensive trade detente between the U.S. and China would likely give a boost to China’s economy and augment steel demand.

The most-traded rebar contract on the SHFE closed at 3,481 yuan per ton ($506) on Thursday, up from an opening price of 3,433 yuan per ton ($496).

U.S. production continues to boast strong growth after the Trump administration’s Section 232 tariff on imported steel went into effect earlier this year. U.S. production in November hit 7.4 MT, marking an increase of 11.8% year over year.

Japanese production hit 8.7 MT, marking a year-over-year decrease of 0.5%. South Korea produced 5.9 MT in November, up 1.1% on a year-over-year basis.

In Europe, France produced 1.4 MT of crude steel in November, marking an increase of 12.8% compared to November 2017. Italy’s crude steel production hit 2.2 MT, down by 1.0%. Spain produced 1.3 MT, down 0.7%.

The European Commission launched a steel safeguard investigation in March in response to the U.S.’s Section 232 tariff and the subsequent concerns about diverted steel flooding the European market. The investigation, which covers 28 product categories, was to last nine months; however, the European Commission this week announced an extension of the duration of the probe, pushing its conclusion to Feb. 1, 2019.

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Elsewhere, Brazil’s production reached 2.8 MT, down 6.1% year over year. Turkey’s crude steel production hit 3.1 MT, a decrease of 2.1% year over year. Crude steel production in Ukraine reached 1.7 MT, marking an 11.2% year-over-year decline.

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