Global crude steel production rose for a third straight month in
April on higher output from China - the world's biggest steel
producer - according to a World Steel Association ("WSA") report.
Gains in the European Union, thanks to a recovery in steel demand
in the region, coupled with a strong rise in the Middle East also
contributed to the growth.
The international trade body for the iron and steel industry said
that crude steel production for 65 reporting nations went up 1.7%
year over year in the reported month to 137 million tons (Mt). This
follows a 2.7% gain last month and a 0.6% rise in February.
By regions, production data paints a mixed picture with Asia,
European Union, North America and Middle East recording gains while
Other Europe, South America, the C.I.S., Africa and Oceania
registering a decline in output.
All major Asian producers racked up gains barring Japan - the
second largest producer. Output from China rose 2.1% year over year
to 68.8 Mt in April. Japan saw a 2.5% fall in production to 8.9 Mt
as a recent increase in sales tax by the government hurt demand in
that country. Production in India, the fourth-largest producer,
rose 5.3% to around 7 Mt. South Korea logged a healthy 10.8% gain
to 6.1 Mt. Consolidated production rose 2.2% to 92.8 Mt in
In North America, steel production in the U.S. - the third-largest
steelmaker - edged down 1.6% to 7 Mt. Output in Canada and Mexico,
however, rose 2% and 12.1%, respectively, to around 1 Mt and 1.6
Mt, respectively. Overall production for the region inched up 0.7%
to roughly 9.7 Mt.
In the Europe Union, production from Germany - the largest producer
in the region - moved up 3.9% to 3.7 Mt. Output fell 4% in Italy to
2 Mt while climbing 16% to 1.4 Mt in France. Spain saw a 3.1%
decline to 1.2 Mt. Production rose 13.5% in the UK to about 1.1 Mt.
Total output rose 4% in the European Union to 14.6 Mt.
Output in the Middle East climbed 9.6% to 2.3 Mt with gains
witnessed across all steel producing countries. Africa recorded a
2.5% decline to 1.3 Mt with a 2.4% fall in South Africa.
Among other notable producers, production from Turkey slipped 9.1%
to 2.6 Mt. Russia, which is battered by its ongoing conflict with
Ukraine, saw a mere 0.7% rise to 5.8 Mt while Ukraine registered a
4.5% decline to 2.6 Mt. Output from Brazil, the largest producer in
South America, clipped 5.1% to 2.8 Mt.
Crude steel capacity utilization ratio for the reporting countries
was 78.7% in Apr 2014, down from 79.9% a year ago and 79% in the
Steelmakers globally suffered the pangs of challenging steel market
fundamentals, debt crisis in Europe and weak pricing for the most
part of 2013. Overcapacity in the industry, a glut in cheaper
imports and weak demand hammered steel prices during the year,
hurting margins of major producers including
According to the WSA, world crude steel production rose 3.5% year
over year to 1,607 Mt in 2013 as gains across Asia, Middle East and
Africa more than offset declines in other regions. China alone
contributed nearly half of the global output.
With the global economic recovery gathering steam and activities
picking up in the construction sector, prospects look healthy for
the steel industry in 2014. The WSA sees continued recovery in
steel demand and expects global steel usage to increase 3.1% this
year and further rise 3.3% in 2015. However, the industry faces
challenges in form of an expected deceleration in steel usage in
China and sluggishness in emerging economies due to certain
A gradually healing economy, strength in the auto sector and a
rebound in non-residential construction and housing markets are
expected to help pull the U.S. steel industry out of its funk in
2014. Moreover, an expected rise in steel usage in the Euro-zone
looks encouraging after a lumpy 2013, which augur well for recovery
prospects this year. Improving demand, driven by healthy momentum
in the automotive market, is also expected to jack up steel
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