World crude steel production dropped for the eleventh successive month in May this year with nine of the top 10 producers led by China reporting reduced output.
India was the lone exception with its production increasing by 17.3 per cent to 10.6 million tonnes (mt), World Steel Association (worldsteel) data showed.
Steel production among the 64 countries that report to the association dropped by 3.5 per cent to 169.5 mt compared with May 2021. The production was, however, higher month-on-month. In April, global output was 162.7 mt.
World steel production has been dropping since July last year as output in China, which contributes over 50 per cent, has been falling since the last quarter of 2021. The last time steel output increased was in June 2021, up by 11 per cent.
For the first five months of 2022, global steel output dropped by 6.3 per cent year-on-year to 791.8 mt. This is slightly better than the situation in the first four months, when it had dropped by 7.1 per cent.
The drop in China’s production yet again mirrored the global decline. It slid to 96.6 mt against 99.5 mt in the year-ago period. For the January-May period, its production was 435 mt compared with 473.1 mt, down by 8.7 per cent.
Highest in 2022
However, China’s production is the highest for the year. It produced 92.8 mt in April, 88.3 mt in March, 83 mt in February and 81.7 mt in January. Production in the Communist nation has been hit this year due to the fourth wave of Covid and the ensuing lockdowns.
There could be further improvement in Chinese production this month with Beijing having lifted lockdowns in important cities such as Shanghai from June 1.
Indian steel production was also higher month-on-month, from 10.1 mt in April, but lower than the 10.9 mt produced in March and 10.8 mt in January. In February, India produced 10.1 mt.
For the first five months, India’s production is 6.5 per cent higher year-on-year at 53.2 mt (48.6 mt). However, the positive feature of India’s production is that it has been hovering above 10 mt since December 2021.
Among other nations, Japan’s production declined by 4.2 per cent to 8.1 mt, while that of the US slipped 2.6 per cent to 7.2 mt. Russia is estimated to have produced 6.4 mt, down 1.4 per cent year-on-year.
Iran reported the biggest drop, at 17.6 per cent. Its output slipped to 2.3 mt in May compared with 2.6 in the year-ago period. Germany followed with 11.5 per cent drop. It produced 3.2 mt (3.5 mt in May 2021).
Turkey (down 1.4 per cent) and Brazil (-4.9 per cent) also saw reduced production in May.