Global steel production down 4.3% on year in March: worldsteel

Global crude steel production totaled 161.2 million mt in March, down 4.3% year on year, according to World Steel Association data published April 23.

However, March global production was 7.9% higher than the previous month and at the highest monthly level since May 2023.

The March total brought output for the first quarter to 469.1 million mt, edging up 0.5% year on year, the data showed.

China, the largest steelmaker, produced 88.3 million mt in March, down 7.8% from a year ago but up 8.7% month on month, making up 55% of total global crude steel output.

China’s Q1 volume was also 1.9% lower year on year to 256.6 million mt.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed the SS400 HRC 3 mm thick grade of coil at $525/mt FOB China April 23, down 7.6% since the start of 2024.


Production in India climbs

The world’s second-largest steel producer, India, saw steel output rise 7.8% on the year and up 6.9% on the month in March to 12.7 million mt. This brought Q1 volumes to 37.3 million mt, up 9.7% on the year.

Japan’s March production totaled 7.2 million mt, down 3.9% on the year, but up 2.9% from February, with Q1 output down 0.8% on the year to 21.5 million mt, the data showed.

May output from the US was steady year on year at 6.9 million mt but climbed 6.5% on the month. The US’ Q1 output was down 1.6% to 19.9 million mt.

Russia was estimated to have produced 6.6 million mt in March, up 0.8% year on year and 10.6% higher than February’s level. The estimated Q1 total was 18.7 million mt, down 0.2% on the year.

South Korea produced 5.3 million mt of crude steel in March, down 9.5% year on year, but up 0.8% month on month, with the Q1 volume down 2.5% on the year to 16.2 million mt.


EU production down 4.3% on year

The European Union produced 11.6 million mt of crude steel in March, down by 4.3% year on year but up 8.25% on the month.

Germany, Europe’s largest steel producer, saw its crude steel production jump 8.4% year on year in March to 3.5 million mt, which was also 12.3% higher on the month. This brought Q1 volumes to 9.7 million mt, up 6% from Q1 2023. Inventory cyclical effects may also have contributed to this positive development.

In Germany, steel production by blast furnace rose 5.1% on the year to 2.42 million mt, while steal made via electric arc furnaces increased 16.4% to 1.09 million mt, according to data from German steel federation WV Stahl.

During the month of March, N.EU HRC prices moved from Eur715/mt March 1 to Eur665/mt March 28, according to Platts’ assessment.

Europe’s second-largest steel producer, Italy, saw steel production fall 12.6% year on year to 1.91 million mt, although volume rose 5% on the month. The Q1 total was 5.4 million mt, down 4.4% on the year.

In March, flat steel products in Italy dropped 14.2% on the year to 794,000 mt, as the country’s second-largest flat steelmaker, Acciaierie d’Italia, was working at its lowest-ever historical level. Italian long steel production also fell 11% to 1.25 million mt year on year, according to Italian steel association Federacciai’s latest report.

Turkey produced 3.2 million mt in March, rising 18% on the year and 3.8% higher than February’s volume, according to worldsteel. Q1 production was also up 28.4% on the year to 9.5 million mt.

Brazil produced 2.8 million mt of steel in March, up 5.6% year on year and 0.3% higher on the month.

Iran’s output rose 2% on the year and 23.9% on the month to 2.8 million mt.

Overall pig iron production from 38 countries was 108.3 million mt in March, down 4.8% year on year but increasing 6.7% from February, the data showed.

Direct reduced iron produced worldwide in March amounted to 9.6 million mt, falling 4.8% year on year and up 9.5% from February, according to worldsteel.

Jacqueline Holman | Annalisa Villa