Global steel production down 5% on year in H1: worldsteel

Global crude steel production totaled 949.5 million mt in the first half of 2022, down 5.5% year on year, according to World Steel Association data published July 22.

Total output in June was at a four-month low of 158.1 million mt, down 5.9% on the year and down 6.7% from May, the data showed.

Largest steelmaker China produced 90.7 million mt in June, down by 3.3% from a year ago and falling 6.1% on the month to a three-month low. The country’s volume made up 57.4% of total global crude steel output.

This brought H1 steel production in China to 526.9 million mt, down 6.5% year on year.

For the second consecutive month, the world’s second-largest steel producer India was the only top-10 producer that saw its production grow year on year in June, rising 6.3% to 10 million mt, although dropped 6.2% month on month.

In H1, India’s output rose 8.8% to 63.2 million.

Japan’s June production was at a four-month low of 7.4 million mt, down 8.1% on the year and 7.5% lower than May’s seven-month high, with H1 output down 4.3% on the year to 46 million mt, the data showed.

June output from the US fell 4.2% year on year and declined 4.3% from May’s seven-month high to 6.9 million mt, taking H1 production to 41.1 million mt, down 2.2%.

Russia was estimated to have produced 5 million mt in June, falling 22.2% from June 2021 and down 21.9% from May to the lowest monthly volume since S&P Global Commodity Insight’s records began at the start of 2018.

This is most likely due to the impact of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on demand for Russian steel.

Russia’s estimated H1 output was also 7.2% lower on the year to 35.4 million mt.

South Korea produced 5.6 million mt of crude steel in June, down 6% year on year and down 3.2% from May’s four-month high, with the H1 volume down 3.9% on the year to 33.8 million mt.

Europe H1 output down 5.9%

In the whole of Europe, including the UK, crude steel production fell 11.9% on the year in June to a six-month low of 15.6 million mt, which was also 8.7% lower than May’s six-month high. The H1 volume was 97.7 million mt, dropping 5.9% on the year.

Germany, the largest steel producer in Europe, saw its crude steel production fall 7% in June to 3.2 million mt, which was also down 1.5% on the month, as high energy costs dented demand and the auto sector was still impacted by the ongoing semiconductor chip shortage.

In H1, Germany produced 19.6 million of crude steel, down 5.55% year on year, the data showed.

Domestic prices for hot-rolled coil in Europe have been weakening since the second half of March on low demand, with Platts assessing domestic HRC prices in Northern Europe at Eur860/mt ex-works Ruhr July 21, down 6.7% since the start of 2022, but up from the intra-year low of Eur840/mt reached at the end of June, according to S&P Global Commodity Insights.

Turkish mills’ crude steel output fell 13.1% year on year to 2.9 million mt in June

Turkey also produced 2.9 million mt in June, down 13.1% on the year and 8.6% lower than May’s volume. H1 production was down 4.6% on the year to 18.9 million mt.

Brazil produced an estimated 2.9 million mt in June, down 6.1% year on year and falling 3.1% from May, while Iran’s estimated monthly output was at 2.2 million mt, down 10.8% on the year and 4.3% lower than the previous month.

Brazil’s H1 production fell 2.9% on the year to 17.4%, while Iran’s output for the six-month period dropped 10.8% to 13.6 million mt.

H1 production of pig iron from 38 countries was 651.3 million mt, down 5.5 year on year, the data showed, while direct reduced iron produced worldwide in H1 amounted to 54.5 million mt, also down 5.5% year on year.

Crude steel data covers the 64 countries that report to worldsteel, accounting for about 98% of the world’s crude steel production.

— Jacqueline Holman