Global steel production stuttering, demand continues to recover
by David Fleschen
According to data from the World Steel Association, global steel production in July was up 3.3% year-on-year to 161.7 million tons (5.22 million tons per day). However, on a daily basis, this was the lowest volume this year, due to the decline in China (-8.4%). The Chinese figures were already published last week by the National Institute of Statistics, so they were not a surprise. China's share of global production fell back below 54% in July, the lowest since 1½ years ago. Outside China, steel production expanded by over 20%, which is related to the Corona-related very low basis of comparison. The largest steel-producing countries behind China produced up to 38% more steel in July (USA). While China has long since ironed out the Corona dent, most other major steel-producing countries should succeed in doing so in the course of this year. Alongside production, demand is also continuing to pick up, for example in the EU.
The association of European steel producers, Eurofer, expects apparent steel demand to rise by a good 11% this year to 143 million tons, almost reaching pre-pandemic levels. Next year, it is expected to increase by just under 4%. However, the record level from 2018 is likely to be missed, according to Eurofer. According to the report, up to the first quarter - Eurofer has not yet announced details on the second quarter - household appliances and the automotive industry were the main drivers of steel demand in the EU. Prices for hot- and cold-rolled steel in Europe have stopped rising in recent weeks and have settled at their record highs. It is not yet possible to say whether this means the record chase is over. Hot-rolled steel currently costs a good EUR 1,200 per ton, cold-rolled steel EUR 1,350 per ton.
Source: Commerzbank Research, Photo: Fotolia