German production rebounds in 2021

In line with optimistic forecasts, German crude steel production in 2021 reached the 40 million tonne mark, totalling 40.1mt, according to national steel federation WV Stahl.

The federation points out that this was the first time in three years that annual output saw a year-on-year increase. In comparison with 2020, the increase was 12.3%. For oxygen-route mills, the increase was more pronounced at 15.9%, reaching a total tonnage of nearly 28mt.

In 2020, oxygen-route mills were most hit by the impact of the initial coronavirus outbreak as they could not react flexibly to the sudden change in demand. Their output dropped massively as many conceded technically complex temporary standstills.

Due to that base effect, electric arc furnace-route mills saw a lesser y-o-y output increase in 2021 of 4.8%, totalling 12.1mt. Strikingly, though, EAF production plummeted 20% y-o-y in December, Kallanish notes. This output downtrend could be observed in the earlier autumn months, and it is probably attributable to production breaks due to rising electricity costs.

The drop in output was especially pronounced in December likely due to an extraordinary overhaul at one rebar mill, which has carried over into January and is still impacting national production.

Christian Koehl Germany