Global crude steel production bounces back in March

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Given the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic throughout the world in early 2020, it’s no surprise that year-over-year crude steel production levels have surged so far this year.

In its monthly production analysis, the World Steel Association (worldsteel) reported global crude steel production jumped by 15.2% year over year in March.

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Global crude steel production surges in March

China steel production

Zhao Jiankang/AdobeStock

Global crude steel production reached 169.2 million metric tons during the month, worldsteel reported.

Meanwhile, global crude steel production in Q1 2021 reached 486.9 million metric tons. The Q1 output marked an increase of 10.0% compared with Q1 2020, when the world began to grapple with the pandemic.

China crude steel production remains robust

Despite announced production curbs, especially in the Chinese steelmaking hub of Tangshan, the country’s steel output remains robust.

China churned out 94.0 million metric tons of steel in March, worldsteel reported. That marks an increase of 19.1% year over year.

Steel demand remains strong in China, which helped prop up metals markets last year with stimulus-driven infrastructure spending projects. While the rest of the world continued to struggle, both with the pandemic and economically, China posted GDP growth of 2.3% (low by China’s typical growth rate, but still notable given the scope of the pandemic).

China’s most-active steel rebar contract on the Shanghai Futures Exchange for October delivery rose Monday by just under $19 per tonne, closing at 5,371 yuan per tonne ($828), state-run news agency Xinhua reported.

Meanwhile, the most-active hot rolled coil futures contract rose by approximately $27, closing at 5,737 yuan per tonne ($885).

Around the world

Rounding out the rest of the top five, India produced 10.0 million metric tons in March, good for a 24.9% increase.

Japan produced 8.3 million metric tons, or up 4.6% year over year.

Production from the United States reached 7.1 million metric tons, or up 1.0%. However, US Q1 2021 production of 23.7 million metric tons marked a year-over-year decline of 6.3%.

Russia produced an estimated 6.6 million metric tons in March, up 9.4% year over year.

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