Raw steel production fell 8.2% from January to February, totaling in 126,579,000 in the latest monthly tally for 67 countries, reported by the World Steel Association.
That figure represents a 4.1% increase over the February 2016 total, and brings 2017 total global steel production to 26,416,000 million metric tons, a rise of 5.8% year-to-date versus the 2016 two-month total.
World Steel Assn. noted that February 2016 had 29 days, a point that seems to enhance the improvement in the latest figures. It may also lessen the significance of the current month-to-month decline.
The World Steel Assn. documents raw-steel output and capacity utilization rates for 67 countries. Raw (or crude) steel is the output of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces that is cast into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel reports tonnage and capacity utilization data for carbon and carbon alloy steel in 67 countries; data for production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are not included.
The raw steel capacity utilization rate is also encouraging: during February, raw-steel capacity utilization worldwide was 70.3%, up 1.1% from January and up 4% from the February 2016 rate.
In an October 2016 forecast for global steel demand, the Association forecast that 2017 global steel demand would increase 0.5% to 1.51 billion metric tons this year. The February results add to recent evidence of growing stability in the global steel industry — particularly in China and India — which for about three years has been beset with weak demand and excess capacity.
Chinese raw steel production for February was estimated at 61.2 million metric tons, down 9.5% from January but 4.6% higher than February 2016. China’s year-to-date steel output is 128.8 million metric tons, 5.82% higher than the January-February 2016 total.