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World Steel Production Report

ISSB Monthly World Steel Production Review

WORLD STEEL REVIEW, January 2012

Crude steel production in the 64 countries reporting to the World Steel Association totalled 115 million tonnes in November 2011, only 1.1% higher than in November 2010. However, the eleven months total was 1,373 million tonnes, 7.4% higher than the same period last year. Excluding China, the monthly rise was 2.4%, whereas the year to date total increased by 5.4%. Four regions showed a decrease in the month and just two regions had a decrease in the year to date totals.

Steel production in the 27 member countries of the European Union decreased by 2.1% in November 2011 compared to the previous November to 14.2 million tonnes; the eleven months total, however, was 3.1% higher at 165 million tonnes. German production fell by 10% in November, bringing the eleven months total up 1.5% to 41.3 million tonnes. Production in Italy, on the other hand, increased by 12.3% in November, while the year to date total rose by almost 12% to 26.7 million tonnes. However, Spanish steel production actually fell by 10.7% in the month, while the year to date total decreased by 4.3% to 14.7 million tonnes. French November production was up by 4.2%, while the eleven months total rose by 2.7% to 14.7 million tonnes. UK monthly steel production dropped by 9.7%, bringing the year to date total down 2.9% to 8.9 million tonnes. The Polish eleven month total rose by 8.3% to 8 million tonnes.

The European Union became a net exporter of steel in August 2011 after six months of being a net importer. The last time the EU was a net importer of steel was in January 2009 as well as nearly all the months of 2008. The change in August 2011 was more to do with the drop in imports which fell from a high point of 3.9 million tonnes in May to 2.8 million tonnes in August. The largest importer of steel in the European Union is Italy where imports fell from 977 thousand tonnes in May to 523 thousand tonnes in August.

About 50% of Italy's steel imports are hot rolled coil and semis (mostly slabs). Imports of hot rolled coil fell by 44% in August compared to May 2011, and semis fell by 36% in the same period. The largest supplier of steel to Italy is the Ukraine, 77% of which was semis. After the Ukraine the largest suppliers were Germany, France and Turkey. Turkey was the largest supplier of hot rolled coil to Italy, followed by France and Germany.

In the rest of Europe the largest producer is Turkey, where steel production increased by 12.8% in November, and by 17.6% in the year to date to 31 million tonnes. Although the monthly total in Serbia actually fell compared to November 2010, the eleven months total rose by 5.9% to 1.3 million tonnes.

According to ACEA, the European car manufacturers' association, European car registrations fell by 3% in November, and were down by 1.1% in the eleven months. Registrations in Germany, the largest market, increased by 2.6% in November, and by 9% in the year to date to 2.9 million cars. French registrations, however, were down by 7.7% in November but only by 0.3% in the year total to 2.0 million cars. The UK total showed a 4.2% fall in November, while the eleven months total was 4.5% down at 1.8 million cars. In Italy monthly registrations were down by 9.2% with the year 10.6% down at 1.6 million cars. The fifth largest market, Spain, was nearly 19% down in the year to date at 742 thousand cars, while the Dutch total was up by 14.4% to 539 thousand cars.

In the CIS countries crude steel production in Russia fell by 4.6% in November bringing the year to date total up 2.7% to nearly 63 million tonnes. Ukrainian November production was only 0.6% down, making the eleven months total 32.5 million tonnes, an increase of 6.7%. Steel production in Kazakhstan increased by 10.6% in the year to date to 4.4 million tonnes.

Steel production in the USA rose by 11.8% in November, bringing the year to date total up 7% to 79 million tonnes. Canadian production was up just 6.4% in November, while the eleven months total only rose slightly to almost 12 million tonnes. Mexican steel production rose by 18.2% in the month, while the year to date total increased by 8.2% to 16.6 million tonnes.

In South America, Brazilian crude steel production rose by 3.7% in November, and the year to date total was up 6.5% to 32.5 million tonnes compared to last year. Argentinian production in November rose by 7.8%, bringing the eleven months total up by 9% to 5.2 million tonnes. Venezuelan crude steel production, on the other hand, increased by 22% in the month, while the year to date total rose by 60% to 3.1 million tonnes.

While African steel production fell by 21% in the month and 15% in the year to date, the Middle Eastern region showed a rise in both the month and the year to date total. The South African monthly total fell by 13.7% with the eleven months total down by 16% at 6.1 million tonnes. In Egypt steel production fell by 21% in the month, and by just 1.5% in the year to date to 5.9 million tonnes. In the Middle East, Iranian production was down 1.5% in November, while the year to date total rose by 9.7% to 12 million tonnes. Saudi Arabian production, however, rose by 10% in the month bringing the January to November total up 3.9% to 4.8 million tonnes. Qatar steel production increased by just 2.4% in the eleven months to 1.8 million tonnes.

In Asia Chinese steel production was flat in November, while the eleven months total was up by 9.8% to 631 million tonnes, 46% of the world total. Indian steel production increased by 8.9% in the month, and by 5.6% in the year to date to 66 million tonnes. Japanese production actually fell by 3.2% in November, while the year to date total was down by 1.2% to 99 million tonnes. South Korean steel production, however, rose by 12.4% in the month, and by 18% in the year to date to 62.5 million tonnes. Taiwanese steel production rose by just 2% in November, although the January to November total increased by 14% to 20.5 million tonnes.

Phil Hunt
ISSB Ltd



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