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February Tonnage Shows Global Steel Output Stabilizing

February Tonnage Shows Global Steel Output Stabilizing

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.

After about three years of instability due to weak demand and excess capacity, global raw steel production appears to be gaining stability.

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.  

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