Global crude steel production remains flat in 2023

Global crude steel production reached 18.88 billion mt in 2023, largely stable with 2022, according to Worldsteel data published Jan. 25.

China, the largest steel producing country, climbed only 0.1% to 1.02 billion mt in 2023.

In December, world crude steel production stood at 135.7 million mt, down 5.3% from December 2022 with Chinese output in December sliding by 14.9% to 67.4 million mt.

According to analysts with S&P Global Commodity Insights, China’s steel production is expected to slow by 0.5% in 2024 as mills look to address oversupply and weak profit margins.

In the near term, analysts with S&P Global expect China’s iron ore imports to moderate on the back of a slowdown in steel production, exacerbated by winter emission curbs with iron ore prices to remain elevated in the first half of 2024 before easing back in the second half, as China’s steel production scales back further. Slowing growth in seaborne exports will be a key factor in keeping prices strong at an average $119/dmt in 2024.

India, the second largest global steel producer, increased production in 2023 by 11.8% to 140.2 million mt, while its December output rose 9.5% year on year to 12.1 million mt.

Production in Japan, the third largest globally, dipped 2.5% to 87 million mt. In December, Japan’s crude steel output rose 1.1% to 7 million mt.

Crude steel production in the US climbed 0.2% to 80.7 million mt in 2023, but rose 7.6% to 6.8 million mt in December.

Russia’s steel output rose 5.6% year on year to 75.8 million mt in the whole of 2023 and up by 4.3% to 6 million mt in December.

In 2023, the European Union is reported to have reached 126.3 million mt in crude steel, down by 7.4% from 2022. Steel production in Germany, Europe’s largest steel producer, reached the lowest volume in 2023 since 2009 to about 35.4 million mt of steel, down 3.9% year on year on weak fundamentals and high international electricity prices.

Hot rolled coil prices in Europe rose to Eur690/mt ex-works at the end of 2023 from Eur683/mt EXW at the start of the year. In Italy, the second-largest European steel producer, output slid 2.5% on the year to 21.06 million mt in 2023.

Turkey’s steel production fell by 4% to 33.7 million mt, but rose 21% to 3.2 million mt in December from December 2022.

Author Annalisa Villa