nucor steel angles
Steelmakers in North America produced 38.2 percent more steel in April 2021 compared with April 2020.
Photo provided by Nucor Corp.

China, India lead gains in 2021 steel production

Worldsteel figures also show rebound in April production in the U.S. and year-to-date improvement in Turkish steel sector.

May 25, 2021

Brussels-based World Steel Association (Worldsteel) says crude steel production for the 64 countries reporting to it checked in at 169.5 million metric tons this April, representing a 23.3 percent increase compared with April 2020. Year to date, those nations have produced 13.7 percent more steel compared with the first four months of 2020.

April 2021 figures in many parts of the world demonstrate an improved state of health in the steel sectors of many nations compared with April 2020, when workplace restrictions and gloomy economic expectations were standard in most parts of the world.

The 27 nations of the European Union produced 42.8 percent more steel in April of this year compared with April 2020, and the North American continent enjoyed a 38.2 percent spike in output year on year. While its overall volume of output is smaller, South America produced an impressive 70.9 percent more steel in April of this year compared with last year.

Turkey, one of the largest import markets for ferrous scrap because of its electric arc furnace- (EAF-) based production, witnessed a 46 percent rebound in output in April compared to one year ago, while year to date it had made nearly 17 percent more steel compared with the first four months of 2020.

Another major scrap importer, India, produced more than 38 million metric tons of steel in the first four months of this year, representing a 26.9 percent rise from the first four months of 2020.

The world’s largest steel-producing nation, China, never really slowed down during its battle with COVID-19, but it, too, has boosted output this year. The nearly 375 million metric tons of steel made by Chinese mills in the first four months of 2021 represent a rise of 15.8 percent in output compared with the same timeframe in 2020.

In terms of the amount produced in 2021, China has been the largest steel producer so far in 2021, far outpacing India in second place and Japan in third place. The United States and Russia round out the top five, with South Korea having produced about 2 million metric tons less than number five Russia.

Steelmakers around the world are enjoying nearly unprecedented high prices (accompanied by high ferrous scrap prices) and a surge in demand based upon the return of household consumers to some spending patterns and a reliance on infrastructure spending by some governments to stimulate their national economies.