World steel production - ISSB monthly commentary.
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Steel Production Report
December 2014

ISSB Monthly World Steel Production Review

Crude steel production in the 65 countries reporting to the World Steel Association totalled 137 million tonnes in October, almost identical with the October 2013 total. The ten months total was 1367 million tonnes, just 2% higher than the same period last year. However, excluding China, the monthly total rose by 0.4%, while the year to date total was up 1.9%.

Steel production in the 28 member countries of the European Union increased by 1.5% in October to 14.9 million tonnes; however, the ten months total was up by 2.8% to nearly 143 million tonnes. German production actually fell by 5.9% in October, bringing the ten months total to 36.1 million tonnes, an increase of 1.6%. Production in Italy decreased by 5.4% in October, while the year to date total rose by 1.5% to 20.4 million tonnes. French production, however, increased by 15% in October, and the ten months total was up by 3.5% to 13.6 million tonnes. Spanish steel production declined by 0.4% in the month, and by just 0.1% in the year to date to 12 million tonnes. UK monthly steel production was 0.3% higher, while the year to date total was 4.8% up at 10.3 million tonnes. The ten months total for Poland rose 7.5% to 7.2 million tonnes.

Despite the slowdown in the European Union, German exports of steel in September reached 2.36 million tonnes, the highest monthly total since June 2012. Almost 79% of this tonnage went to other EU countries, the same percentage as a year earlier. France, Holland, Poland and Italy were the largest markets in September. Flat products accounted for 51% of exports in September and long products 28%.

European car registrations published by ACEA showed an increase of 6.2% in October, while the ten months total was up by 5.9% to 11 million cars. The largest market, Germany, showed an increase in registrations in the month of 3.7%, while the year to date total was up by 3% to 2.56 million cars. In the United Kingdom, October's total was 14.2% up, bringing the year to date total up by 9.5% to 2.14 million cars. In France, however, registrations fell by 3.8% in October, but the year to date was up 1.4% to 1.5 million cars. Italy's monthly registrations rose by 9.2%, bringing the year to date total up by 4.2% to 1.16 million cars. In Spain, on the other hand, registrations jumped by 26% in the month, and were 18.1% up in the ten months to 717 thousand cars. These five countries accounted for 73% of total registrations in Europe in the first ten months of 2014.

In the rest of Europe Turkish steel production dropped by 11% in October and by 0.9% in the year to date to 28.4 million tonnes. Bosnia's year to date total rose by 14.9% to 672 thousand tonnes while the Norwegian total was up just 1% to 496 thousand tonnes. The Serbian year to date total, however, jumped by 29% to 454 thousand tonnes.

Among the CIS countries crude steel production in Russia rose by 1.6% in October to 5.8 million tonnes, making the year to date total 2.5% up at 59 million tonnes. In the Ukraine, however, October steel production dropped by 28.7%, bringing the ten months total down by 15.2% to 23.4 million tonnes. Kazakhstan's year to date total increased by 16.5% to 3.1 million tonnes, and the Belarus total was up by 8.1% to 2.1 million tonnes.

Steel production in the USA fell by 0.7% in October, bringing the year to date total up 1.4% to 73.7 million tonnes. Canadian production, however, rose by 9.4% in October, and by 3.6% in the ten months to 10.7 million tonnes. Mexican steel production increased by just 0.4% in the month, while the year to date total was up by 5.4% to 16 million tonnes. The Trinidad and Tobago year to date total fell by 18.4% to 418 thousand tonnes.

In South America, Brazilian crude steel production increased by 2.7% in October, bringing the year to date total down by 0.7% to 28.6 million tonnes compared to last year. Argentinian production in October increased by just 0.6%, while the ten months total was up 7% to 4.6 million tonnes. However, Venezuelan crude steel production dropped by 29% in the month, while the year to date total was 42% lower at 1.1 million tonnes. Colombian year to date production was down 7.9% to 977 thousand tonnes while Chilean production declined by 17% to 927 thousand tonnes. In Peru the ten months total rose by 4.3% to 923 thousand tonnes.

Among Middle Eastern and African countries Iranian steel production increased by 4.8% in the month, and by 6.4% in the ten months to 13.5 million tonnes. In Egypt, however, production fell by 24% in October but was 2.7% up in the year to date to 5.7 million tonnes. South African steel production fell by 2.2% in the month and by 0.4% up in the ten months to 6 million tonnes. Saudi Arabia steel production increased by 11.4% in October, while the year to date total increased by 15% to 5.2 million tonnes. Monthly production in the Qatar increased by almost 50%, while the year to date total rose by 32% to 2.5 million tonnes. In the UAE, on the other hand, production was down 8.2% in the month and by 18.8% in the ten months.

In Asia Chinese steel production actually showed a slight decline of 0.3% in October, bringing the ten months total up by 2.1% to 685 million tonnes, 50% of world production. Japanese monthly steel production decreased by 1.7% while the year to date total was up just 0.6% to 92.5 million tonnes. Indian production, however, increased by 8.5% in the month, bringing the year to date total up by 2.5% to 69.5 million tonnes. South Korean steel production rose by 4.5% in October, bringing the ten months total to 59.5 million tonnes, an increase of 8.9%. Taiwanese steel production was 4.8% up in October, and 1.5% higher in the year to date at 18.9 million tonnes.

Indian imports of steel in August rose to 941 thousand tonnes which was 33.5% above the August 2013 total and the highest monthly total since January 2013. Flat products accounted for 74% of this total with HR wide strip, CR and HR plates the three largest product groups imported. The main suppliers to the Indian market in August were China, South Korea and Japan with Asian countries accounting for 75% of imports in August. The European Union only accounted for 9.1% of imports in August.

Phil Hunt
ISSB Ltd


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