Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock
Global crude steel production reached 925.1 million tons for the first six months of the year, marking a 4.6% increase compared with the same period in 2018, the World Steel Association reported.
Year-over-year production growth has fallen each of the last two months, from 6.4% in April to 5.2% in May.
Production in Asia reached 660.2 million tons, up 7.4% compared with 1H 2018. North American production ticked up 1.4% to 60.1 million tons, while E.U. production fell 2.5% to 84.7 million tons. The Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) bloc produced 50.5 million tons, about flat with production levels in 1H 2018.
Production in China continues to remain elevated over 2018 levels. In June, China churned out 87.5 million tons, up 10.0% on a year-over-year basis. However, June production fell from May’s 89.1 million tons.
Worth monitoring is the key steelmaking material, iron ore, which has soared to five-year highs this year.
“Steel prices had been supported by environmentally promoted steel mill closures, restricting supply as government-supported housing construction drove demand,” MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns explained Tuesday. “However, although anti-pollution measures are expected to continue, it will require further stimulus to keep the housing market running at the current pace.”
India’s production rose 4.0% to 9.3 million tons of crude steel in June 2019. As noted by MetalMiner’s Sohrab Darabshaw, Tata Steel announced plans to increase its annual crude steel capacity to 30 million tons by 2025, up from the current 20 million tons.
Japan’s production fell 0.4% on a year-over-year basis, down to 8.8 million tons, while South Korea’s crude steel production fell 2.6% to 6.0 million tons.
U.S. production reached 7.3 million tons in June, up 3.1% year over year. U.S. steel capacity utilization reached 81.1% as of July 20, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
In Europe, Germany’s production fell 5.8% to 3.4 million tons, while Italy saw a 2.5% decline to 2.1 million tons. France’s production rose 3.4% to 1.3 million tons, while Spain’s production ticked up 2.3% to 1.2 million tons.
Steel production in Turkey, Ukraine and Brazil fell in June on a year-over-year basis.