Global raw steel production for the 65 countries reporting to the World Steel Association was 138 million metric tons in March 2015, a 2.7% drop compared to March 2014. With a bit more than 400 million metric tons of steel produced worldwide during the first three months of this year, the year-to-date total of raw steel production is down 1.8% versus the first-quarter total for 2014.
The slowing production rate matches the conclusions of the WSA's recent short-range outlook for steel consumption, which forecasts an increase of just 0.5% this year over 2014, thanks to factors that include recession in China, falling oil prices, and uneven industrial recovery in the EU. March 2015 raw steel capacity utilization slipped to 71.6%, 1.8% lower than February 2015, and 4.0% lower than March 2014.
China led all nations in raw steel production volume during March, as usual, with 69.5 million metric tons, 12.2% more than the February total but 1.2% less than the March 2014 volume. Chinese steelmakers have produced 200.1 million metric tons during the first three months of this year, 1.7% less than during January-March 2014.