Global steel production for the first nine months of 2020 fell by 3.2% year over year to 1.35 billion tonnes, the World Steel Association (worldsteel) stated on October 23.
Production over the same time in 2019 was slightly over 1.39 billion tonnes, the Brussels-based organization stated.
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Global steel production falls, but China’s rises
China, the world’s largest steelmaking nation by volume, offset the total decrease with a 4.5% rise in its crude production to almost 782 million tonnes from slightly over 748 million tonnes, worldsteel figures indicated.
September alone saw China pour over 92.5 million tonnes of crude steel. That figure is up 10.9% from the 83.4 million tonnes China poured in September 2019.
Elsewhere in Asia
Vietnam saw the largest increase over nine months in Asia at 14.8% year over year. Total production reached 17.7 million tonnes from the 15.4 million tonnes produced in the first nine months of 2019.
Asia’s total crude production was almost unchanged at just over 1 billion tonnes from 999 million tonnes.
Japan had the largest drop in the region at 19.1% to 70.2 million tonnes from 84 million tonnes.
“The more interesting trend the data shows is the evolution of steel making in SE Asia,” MetalMiner’s Stuart Burns explained. “Japan is suffering but capacity in markets like Vietnam is rising rapidly, in part to meet domestic and regional demand but additionally as Chinese manufacturers offshore to circumvent tariff barriers they are facing in North America and Europe.
“Although much of the production from these new producers is currently flowing into local Asian markets, the quality is sufficiently high to give them access in time into Europe, Japan and elsewhere. The Asian steel story is not confined to China.”
North American output down 18.2%
North America’s crude production fell by 18.2% to 74 million tonnes.
Pouring in the United States fell by 19.2% to 53.4 million tonnes.
Mexico produced 12.2 million tonnes, down by 13.6% drop from 14.1 million tonnes.
Production in Canada may have been lower than Mexico’s, yet the former recorded a larger drop in production to 8.02 million tonnes from 9.82 million tonnes.
E.U. output falls
Production in the E.U., the world’s second-largest producing region, fell 17.9% to 99.3 million tonnes from 121 million tonnes.
“I think the European data reflects the initial and ongoing impact of the COVID-induced lockdowns which have hit manufacturers to varying degrees depending on the containment policies in each country,” Burns added.
Germany recorded a 15.7% drop to 25.7 million tonnes from 30.5 million tonnes.
France saw the largest decrease among major producers in the region at 8.23 million tonnes, down by more than a quarter from 11.24 million tonnes.
Croatia produced no crude in the first nine months of 2020, though its total production in 2019 came to 59,000 tonnes.
Turkey recorded a 2.6% rise in its production to 25.9 million tonnes from 25.2 million tonnes.
Bosnia-Herzegovina, North Macedonia, Norway and Serbia recorded an average 44% drop on the year for the first nine months of 2020 compared with 2019.
Here and there
In the CIS, crude steel production fell 2.5% to 74.3 million tonnes from 76.2 million tonnes.
Russia poured 53.3 million tonnes, a drop of 1.4% from 54 million tonnes, figures from worldsteel showed.
Crude production in Uzbekistan rose 46.2%, though the actual volume totaled 706,000 tonnes from 483,000 tonnes.
Crude in the Middle East fell 1.9% to 29.3 million tonnes from 29 million tonnes. Iran helped to offset that drop by pouring 9.3% more of crude steel, however, totaling 20.8 million tonnes.
worldsteel reported a 16.1% drop in Africa’s crude production to 9.07 million tonnes from 10.8 million tonnes. South Africa led the decline.
Crude steel production in South Africa totaled 2.88 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2010, off by 41% from 4.88 million tonnes, figures showed.
Egypt saw a 6.6% rise in its crude steel production, however, to 5.9 million from 5.53 million tonnes.
South America’s crude steel production declined by almost 14% to 27.3 million tonnes from 24.8 million tonnes.
The largest producer in that region, Brazil, saw its crude steel production drop 9.7% to 22.3 million tonnes from 24.7 million tonnes.
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