Global crude steel declined 2.4 per cent in April with China again dragging the output compared with the year-ago period. According to World Steel Association (worldsteel), production in the 63 countries that report to it was down to 161.4 million tonnes (mt) against 162.7 mt in April 2022. 

Top producer China produced 92.6 mt, a decline of 1.5 per cent compared to the year-ago period. China produced 95.7 mt in March, an increase of 6.9 per cent over March 2022.

India reported a 3.2 per cent rise in production at 10.7 mt. However, it was lower than the 11.4 mt produced in March 2023.

US, Japan output slides

Steel production in Japan and the US dropped by 3.1 per cent and 5.3 per cent, respectively, at 7.2 mt and 6.6 mt. Russian production was pegged at 6.4 mt, up by 1.9 per cent year-on-year (y-o-y).

South Korea’s output increased by 3 per cent at 5.7 mt while Germany’s production was down by 3.8 per cent at 3.2 mt. Brazil’s output slipped 5.9 per cent to 2.8 mt but Iran reported a hike of 5.9 per cent at 3.1 mt.

For the January-April period, production in the 63 nations that account for 97 per cent of world steel output was pegged at 622.7 mt, down 0.3 per cent.

In its short-range outlook released last month, worldsteel said steel demand worldwide will grow 2.3 per cent in 2023 and 1.7 per cent in 2024 to touch 1,822 mt and 1,854 mt, respectively. Manufacturing is expected to lead the recovery, but high interest rates will continue to weigh on steel demand, it said.

Commenting on the outlook, Maximo Vedoya, CEO of Ternium and Chair of the worldsteel Economics Committee, said, “Persistent inflation and high-interest rates in most economies will limit the recovery of steel demand in 2023, despite positive factors like China’s reopening, Europe’s resilience in the face of the energy crisis, and the easing of supply chain bottlenecks.”