Global steel output up 28% in H1, slower in June

Global steel output up 28% in H1, slower in June

London: Global crude steel production rose by nearly 28% in the first six months of this year, but it continued to slow down in June on a monthly basis as mills worldwide scaled back production.

Crude steel output in January to June reached 705.8 million tonnes this year, from a recession-hit 551.9 million tonnes in 2009, figures from the World Steel Association showed on Tuesday.

Production in the first half of this year was even 7.2 percent higher compared with the same period of 2007, when crude steel production hit an all-time high for the whole year of 1.346 billion tonnes on the back of booming demand from China.

However, on a month-on-month basis global output growth has slowed down, said the association, whose members represent 85 percent of the world’s steel sector.

Crude steel production per day was at 3.958 million tonnes in June, down from a peak of 4.018 million tonnes in May.

Since the second half of last year, the $500 billion steel industry has slowly begun to come back to life after one of the worst downturns in its history.

Producers raised output and managed to bring back some of the idled production capacity. However many said the rebound was more due to restocking and pressure from the rising cost of raw materials rather than real demand ticking higher.

Mounting debt worries in the euro zone and poor economic data from the United States as well as signs of a slowdown in China’s metals appetite have caused raw material prices and steel demand to begin to ease in the second half.

In China, the world’s top producer and consumer of the metal, output rose by 21.1% year-on-year in the same period to 323.2 million tonnes.

But daily output fell to 1,792 million tonnes in June from 1.811 million tonnes in May.

China produced almost half the world’s steel last year but its thousands of mills face headwinds from slowing property and auto markets at home, a loss of favourable export rebates and the prospect of a higher quarterly price for iron ore.

In June alone, steel production worldwide was up by 18% year-on-year at 118.8 million tonnes.