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Wednesday, 12 February 20
WORLD STEEL PRODUCTION IN 2019 - BANCHERO COSTA
Banchero Costa LogoIn a worrying development, global steel production slowed down considerably in the fourth quarter of 2019. In the final 3 months of 2019, total crude steel production in the 64 countries reporting to Worldsteel reached 451 mln tonnes, down -0.2 percent y-o-y from the same period in 2018, Banchero Costa said in its latest weekly report.
 
According to Banchero Costa, the year as a whole was still positive, with total output of 1848 mln tonnes, up +3.5 percent y-o-y. This was primarily thanks to a very strong first half of the year, when global steel production increased +4.9 percent y-o-y to 925 mln tonnes in the period January-June. Nevertheless, the global figures hide significant differences in performance across regions. China, the world’s largest producing country, continues to lead gains in steel production,
increasing +8.3 percent year-on year to 996.3 million tonnes in the 12 months of 2019, based on World steel data.
 
Banchero Costa further noted that, China’s share of global crude steel production increased from 50.9% in 2018 to 53.3% in 2019. China's steel output cut policy for this winter period is similarly soft to the one implemented in 2018, with more autonomy given to provincial governments, and with higher performing mills exempt from the production restrictions. This resulted in a continuation of strong steel production. Despite efforts from the government over the past few years to streamline the industry and make it more financially viable, fragmentation appears to be worsening again. Beijing set a goal for its top 10 steelmakers to own 60% of production capacity by 2020. However, production by members registered with the China Iron and Steel Association (CISA), mostly state-owned firms, grew at +5.9% year-on-year during the first 8 months of 2019. Production by non-members, mostly private firms, surged 19.4%, according to CISA.
 
Elsewhere, India has recently managed to overtake Japan as the world’s second largest producing country, but its economy has been slowing down considerably. India’s steel production increases just +1.8 percent year-on-year to 111.2 million tonnes in 2019. A deepening credit crunch in India's shadow banking industry following the collapse of a major infrastructure lender in 2018 has sharply dented spending on cars and real estate in India. Domestic steel consumption in September was at its lowest since the start of the fiscal year 2019/20, according to official data. India's GDP growth slowed down to a six-year low of +5% in the April-June quarter. Output from Japan, the world’s third largest producing country, decreased sharply by -4.8 percent year-on-year to 99.3 mln tonnes in 2019 said Banchero Costa.
 
Similarly negative news are coming from Europe. The European Union as a whole produced 159.4 mln tonnes of crude steel in 2019, down -4.9 percent year-on-year. Steel output in Germany, Europe’s industrial powerhouse, declined by -6.5 percent y-o-y in 2019 to 39.7 mln tonnes. Also in Italy, output declined by -5.2 percent y-o-y to 23.2 mln tonnes in 2019. In France there was a similar decline of -6.1 percent y-o-y to 14.5 mln tonnes. Production in Poland crashed by -10.8 percent y-o-y to 9.0 mln tonnes in the same period. The biggest jump in output in 2019 was in Iran, which saw a +30.1 percent increase to 31.9 mln tonnes.


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