Production of crude steel for the countries reporting to the World Steel Association in June 2013 was estimated to be almost 132 million tonnes, 1.9% higher than the June 2012 total. This brought the total for the first six months of 2013 to 790 million tonnes, 2% higher than the January to June period in 2012. However, excluding China, which accounted for over 49% of the total in 2013, the year to date total actually fell by 2.7%, while the June total was down by 0.6%. If the percentage increase is maintained in the second half of the year then the 2013 total will be 1580 million tonnes.
Crude steel production in the 27 member countries of the European Union decreased by 3.5% in June compared to June 2012, with the year to date total down by 5.1% to 84 million tonnes compared with the same period last year. Monthly production in Germany fell by 2.2%, while the six months total was down by just 0.9% to 21.7 million tonnes. Italian production, however, decreased by 10.3% in June, and by 14.7% in the year to date to 12.7 million tonnes. French crude steel production actually rose by 2.8% in June, bringing the year to date total to 8 million tonnes, a drop of 4.3%. Spanish production also increased by 5.9% in the month, and was flat in the six months at 7.5 million tonnes. The UK total rose by 9.8% in June, while the year to date total was 25% up to 5.7 million tonnes. Polish steel production decreased by 12.6% in the six months to 4 million tonnes, while the Austrian year to date total rose by 3.2% to 3.9 million tonnes.
Elsewhere in Europe, Turkey's steel production increased by 0.5% in the month with the half year total down by 2.9% to 17.4 million tonnes. The Norwegian year to date total fell by 13.7% to 308 thousand tonnes, while Bosnia's six month total rose by 10% to 375 thousand tonnes.
European car registrations, according to ACEA, fell by 6.3% in June, while the total for the first six months of 2013 was down by 6.7% at 6.4 million cars. German registrations fell by 4.7% in June, but were down by 8.1% in the half year to 1.5 million cars. The French market decreased by 8.4% in June, and was 11.2% down in the six months to 931 thousand cars. UK registrations, however, rose by 13.4% in June, and by 10% in the six months to 1.16 million cars. In Italy the June total fell by 5.5%, and by 10.3% in the year to date to 731 thousand cars. These four countries accounted for 67% of total European registrations. The next largest market was Spain where the six months total was down by 4.9% to 386 thousand cars.
Turning to the CIS, Russian steel production was just 0.8% down in June, while the half year total was down by 2.9% to 34.7 million tonnes. Ukraine's crude steel production, however, rose by 7.8% in June, but fell by just 0.6% in the six months to 17 mt. In Kazakhstan, steel production decreased by 21.6% in the half year to 1.5 million tonnes. The Belarus six months total, however, was up by 0.7% to 1.3 mt.
The North American continent's crude steel production was flat in June with the USA total down by just 0.2%, bringing the six months total down by 6.4% to 43.2 million tonnes. Mexican production, however, rose by 2.6% in June, bringing the year to date total to 8.9 million tonnes, the same as in 2012. Crude steel production in Canada decreased by 1.1% in June, with the half year total down by 9.1% to 6.3 million tonnes.
Imports of steel by the USA rose to almost 2.7 million tonnes in May 2013, the highest monthly total since May 2012. However, according to the American Institute for International Steel (AIIS) the provisional June total fell by 14% compared to May. 23% of the May total was semis, some 4% up on the May 2012 total at 610 thousand tonnes. The next largest product group was welded tubes at 384 thousand tonnes, although this was 18% lower than the same month last year. The semis imported were mostly carbon steel slabs (82%); alloy semis accounted for a further 12.6%. Brazil accounted for 60% of the semis imported in May followed by Russia at almost 18%.
Over half the US imports of welded tubes in May came from Asian countries with South Korea alone accounting for 35% of the total. The largest single category imported in May was OCTG (30% of the total) followed by line pipe at 19%. In fact, according to Metal Bulletin (July 24) the US has launched an anti dumping enquiry on OCTG from 9 countries.
Crude steel production in South America fell by 1.5% in June although Brazilian production increased by 2.7%, bringing the six months to date to 17 million tonnes, a fall of 2.2%. Elsewhere on the continent, production in Argentina was down by 7.7% in June and by 12.1% in the half year to 2.4 million tonnes. Venezuelan steel production, however, dropped by 12.5% in the month, bringing the year to date total to 1.2 million tonnes, 4.9% down on the 2012 total. The six months total in Chile was 27% down at 633 thousand tonnes and in Colombia it was down by 25% at 527 thousand tonnes. However, in Peru the half year total was up by nearly 18% to 536 thousand tonnes.
In Africa and the Middle East, Egyptian production fell by 2.2% in June while the year to date showed a slight increase to 3.3 million tonnes. South African production was down 7.1% in June and by 10.7% in the six months to 3.3 million tonnes. In Iran steel production rose by 2% in June, but was 0.9% lower in the half year at 7.3 million tonnes. Saudi Arabian production increased by 1% in June, and by 1.7% in the first six months of the year to 2.75 million tonnes. In Qatar steel production increased by 3.3% in the year to date to 1.1 million tonnes. Libyan steel production more than quadrupled in the half year to 388 thousand tonnes.
The five main steel producing countries of the Far East all reported an increase in production except South Korea. China's June steel production was 4.6% higher at nearly 65 million tonnes, 49% of the world's total; this increased the six months total by 7.4% to 390 million tonnes. Crude steel production in Japan rose by 0.9% in June with the year to date total up by 1.2% at 54.7 million tonnes. Indian steel production in June also increased by 0.9%, bringing the year to date total to 39.6 million tonnes, an increase of 2.5%. South Korean steel production, however, fell by 5.4% in June, and by 5.3% in the year to date to 33 million tonnes. Taiwanese production, on the other hand, increased by 14.6% in June, and by 9% in the six months to 11.6 million tonnes.
Over one billion tonnes of iron ore was traded in 2012 with Australia by far the largest supplier at nearly half a million tonnes, some 43% of the total, followed by Brazil at 312 million tonnes, 27% of the total. The next six largest suppliers in 2012 were South Africa (56mt), India (37mt), Canada (36mt), Ukraine (35mt), Russia (25mt) and Iran (17mt).
In terms of the importing countries, China took 745 million tonnes, 65% of the total in 2012 with Japan accounting for a further 131 million tonnes, 11.4% of the total. South Korea was the third largest importer at 66 million tonnes.
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