hot steel bars
Nine of the 10 largest steelmaking countries have reported a monthly year-on-year reduction in output this March.
Photo courtesy of ArcelorMittal.

Steel mood tempering, Worldsteel figures indicate

Nine of the 10 largest steelmaking nations reduced output this March compared with March 2021.

April 25, 2022

Steel output in the more than 60 nations that report to Brussels-based World Steel Association (Worldsteel) amounted to 161 million metric tons this March 2022, representing a 5.8 percent decrease compared with March 2021 production.

China, the world’s largest steel producer, again reported a double-digit drop, producing 10.2 percent less steel this March compared with one year ago. In March, however, China was joined by eight of the nine other largest steelmaking countries in reporting a monthly year-on-year reduction in output.

India was the outlier among nations, having produced 4.4 percent more steel this March compared with one year ago. Joining China in the reduction category, ranked by percentage, were Turkey (-4.7 percent), Iran (-4.4 percent), South Korea (-3.8 percent), Germany (-3.7 percent), Japan (-2.9 percent), Brazil (-2.2 percent), Russia (-1.2 percent) and the United States, down just 0.4 percent.

Although America’s stability and India’s global scrap purchases represent good news for ferrous scrap processors in the U.S., of likely concern is slowing output in Turkey and South Korea. Turkey was the largest overseas buyer of exported U.S. ferrous scrap in 2021, and South Korean mills buy bulk cargoes off the U.S. Pacific coast.

March marked the first full month after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine disrupted steel output and trading in that part of the world. According to Worldsteel, Russia and other Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) nations, plus Ukraine, produced 24 million metric tons of crude steel in the first quarter of 2022, representing an 8.5 percent decrease compared with the first quarter of 2021.