Crude steel production in the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association totalled 117.6 million tonnes in October, 2.4% up on the October 2009 total. The ten months total was 1165 million tonnes, 17.5% higher than the same period last year.
However, excluding China, the monthly total rose by 7.7%, with an increase of 23.7% in the year to date.
Steel production in the 27 member countries of the European Union increased by 4.4% in October to 15.4 million tonnes; however, the ten months total was 29% higher at 145 million tonnes. German production rose by 11% in October, bringing the ten months total up 41% to 36.8 million tonnes. Production in Italy increased by 12% in October, while the year to date total was up by 31% to 21.5 million tonnes. Spanish steel production actually fell by 12% in the month, although the year to date total was up by 17.6% to 13.9 million tonnes. French production was virtually flat in October, with the ten months total increasing by 24.7% to 13 million tonnes. UK monthly steel production decreased by 20%, while the year to date total was 4.7% higher at 8.3 million tonnes.
German imports of steel were 2.1 million tonnes in September, their highest level since October 2008. Steel exports, however, dropped slightly from the first half of 2010 to just 2 million tonnes in September. Germany's main export market is the European Union which accounted for 75% of German exports in 2010. Asian countries accounted for a further 5%.
European car registrations published by ACEA showed a fall of 16% in October, with the ten months total down by 5%. The largest market, Germany, showed a drop in registrations in the month of 20%, while the year to date total was down by nearly 27% at 2.4 million cars. In France registrations decreased by 18.5% in October, but were only down by 1.4% to 1.83 million cars in the year to date. In the United Kingdom, October's total was 22% down, although the year to date total was actually up by 4.8% to 1.77 million cars. Italy's monthly registrations fell by 29%, bringing the year to date total down 7% to 1.68 million cars. In Spain, the fifth largest market, registrations dropped by 37.6% in the month, but rose by 9.4% in the ten months to 849 thousand cars.
In the rest of Europe the largest steel producer is Turkey, where steel production was 18.6% higher in October, and 12.6% up in the year to date at 23.6 million tonnes. Serbia's monthly total fell by 26.7%, although the ten months total still increased by 38.6% to 1103 thousand tonnes. The Swiss year to date total was 1091 thousand tonnes, 40% higher than in 2009.
Among the CIS countries crude steel production in Russia rose by 2.1% in October to 5.7 million tonnes; the year to date total, however, rose by 13.3% to 55.6 million tonnes. In the Ukraine October steel production increased by 10.7%, although the ten months total for Ukraine was up 13.3% to 27.6 million tonnes. Kazakhstan's year to date total rose by 4.9% to 3.5 million tonnes.
Steel production in the USA was up by 9.6% in October, bringing the year to date total up 44.7% to 67.5 million tonnes. Canadian steel production jumped by 44% in October, with the ten months total increasing by 55% to 11.3 million tonnes. Mexican steel production, however, was almost flat in the month, while the year to date total increased by 22.7% to almost 14 million tonnes.
In South America, Brazilian crude steel production rose by 4.7% in October, although the year to date total increased by 31% to 27.8 million tonnes compared to last year. Argentinian production in October increased by 8.7%, while the ten months total was up 33.4% to 4.3 million tonnes. Venezuelan crude steel production, however, was 29% down in the month, bringing the year to date total down by 49% to 1.6 million tonnes. Colombian production in the ten months rose by 14% to just over one million tonnes.
Brazilian exports of steel in October jumped to their highest level this year at 940 thousand tonnes due to a doubling in the exports of semis to 630 thousand tonnes. Asian countries accounted for 54% of the monthly total with South Korea alone taking 24%. Central and South American countries accounted for 21% of the total with North America taking a further 17%.
Among the Middle Eastern countries Iranian steel production increased by 30% in the month, and by 6.4% in the ten months to 9.9 million tonnes. In Saudi Arabia steel production was flat in October, although the year to date total increased by 8.3% to 4.2 million tonnes. Egypt's monthly total rose by 23%, while the year to date total increased by 15.6% to 5.2 million tonnes. South African steel production was only up by 4.3% in the month, although the ten months total was 15% higher at 7 million tonnes.
In Asia Chinese steel production actually fell by 3.8% in October, bringing the ten months total up by 10.7% to 525 million tonnes, 45% of world production. Indian monthly steel production increased by 8.8% while the year to date total was up by 7.8% to 55.8 million tonnes. Japanese production rose by 8% in the month; however, the year to date total jumped by 31% to 91.4 million tonnes. South Korean steel production was 11.4% up in October, bringing the ten months total to 47.3 million tonnes, an increase of 19.3%. Taiwanese steel production, on the other hand, was estimated to be 4% higher in October, but 30% up in the year to date at 16.4 million tonnes.
Chinese steel exports have dropped since their peak of 5.6 million tonnes in June 2010 and were just under 2.8 million tonnes in October. Imports have also dropped slightly and were 1.2 million tonnes in October, their lowest level since January 2009 apart from the February 2010 total of just less than 1.2 million tonnes.
Phil Hunt, ISSB Ltd
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