Global crude steel production continues to increase, rising by 5% in November, the highest so far in 2016, according to the World Steel Association.
Since May, steel production has been rising continuously, reversing a decline seen in early 2016 and all of 2015. Year to date, output is up by 0.4%. Negative growth last year also explains some of the higher growth this year.
China leads this reversal in output and, in November, its output growth matched global growth. That is important as it contributes to 50% of global steel output in 2016 so far, slightly above last year’s level.
India, too, has played its part, with a 10.7% growth in November and 7.1% in the year so far.
With output rising, capacity utilization should have risen. Now, utilization did increase sharply at the start of the year, but peaked in June and has declined since.
More capacity has been added, partly due to new plants coming on stream, ramping up of existing capacity and, perhaps, restarts of idled capacity. This could be a warning sign for steel prices.