Global steel output continued to grow in January, despite the headwinds in China caused by the winter steel capacity cuts, according to the World Steel Association.
Global output in the month was 139.4 million mt, an increase of 0.8% compared to the January 2017 total. However, at 70% the utilization rate was down 0.2% compared to a year earlier suggesting global capacity – as recognized by the World Steel Association – has come back online and weighed on overall utilization.
Production in China was down 0.9% year on year to 67 million mt, but overall Asian output grew 0.3% on growth in Vietnam (+38.8%), India (+2.5%) and South Korea (+2.7%). Indian output was just 2,000 mt lower than Japan’s (9.3 million mt) as the country looks set to become the world’s second-largest producer.
In the European Union, production grew 1.4% to just under 14.4 million mt, with growth in Italy particularly strong at 5.3%. Turkish output also remained strong, registering 7.6% on year growth to 3.2 million mt, while Russian output slipped 3.9% to 5.7 million mt.
North American production fell on the back of a 2.2% decline in the US, even as prices rose dramatically and imports were squeezed by the raft of duties.
In South America output rose 3.2% to 3.6 million mtas Brazil, the powerhouse, maintained moderate growth of 1.3%.
Africa (+15.1%) and the Middle East (+11.4%) recorded the strongest growth, with Egypt and Iran driving production in the two emerging regions.
Australian output also saw a surge of 12.9%, likely related to Liberty’s takeover of Onesteel.
Peter Brennan, PLATTS