Global Steel Output Rose to 1.8B for 2018

Jan. 27, 2019
China expands output and global market share; U.S. producers increase tonnage 6.2% year/year

Global raw steel production rose to 1.81 billion metric tons during 2018, up by 4.6% over the 2017, with notable increases in production volume in China and the U.S. The overall results exceed the 1.66 billion metric tons forecast offered by the World Steel Assn. in October in its semi-annual short-range outlook.

The World Steel Assn. reports raw-steel output for 64 countries, representing about 99% of the world’s raw-steel production output.  Raw steel is the product of basic-oxygen and electric-arc furnaces, and cast into semi-finished products, like billets, blooms, and slabs. Most raw steel is produced on contract for large manufacturers, like automotive, appliance, and machinery builders. Less predictable is the amount produced for construction markets or for service centers and distributors.

Chinese steelmaking continued to shape the global market, holding a 51.3% share of the total output, up from a 50.3% share in 2017. Steelmakers in China produced 928,264,000 metric tons of raw from January through December.

Following China, the top steel-producing nations for 2018 were:
> India, surpassing Japan for second place, with 160.5 million metric tons produced, a 4.9% rise over 2017.
> Japan, where total annual production declined just -0.3%, to 104.3 million metric tons
> U.S. steelmakers produced 86.7 million metric tons (95.6 million short tons), an increase of 6.2% over the 2017 total annual output.
> South Korea, with 72.5 million metric tons, a 2.0% annual increase.

Rounding out the top-10 list of 2018 global steel production were Russia, Germany, Turkey, Brazil, and Iran.

In terms of regional markets, Asia — including China — produced 1.27 billion metric tons of raw steel in 2018, an increase of 5.6% compared to 2017.

The European Union produced 168.1 million metric tons of raw steel in 2018, a decrease of -0.3% compared to 2017, and the only major region to report a decline.