The COVID-19 pandemic took a serious toll on global steel output in May everywhere but in China. The World Steel Association reports that world steel production declined by 8.7 percent last month, compared with May 2019, to an estimated 148.8 million metric tons.
Steel production in China actually increased by 4.2 percent in May to 92.3 million tons as its economic recovery is ahead of the pace in most other nations. For the first five months of the year, Chinese steel production increased by 1.9 percent versus 2019 to 411.8 million tons–nearly 57 percent of the estimated world total.
Excluding China, world steel output in May declined by 24.1 percent from the prior year. Compared with the prior month, steel production increased by about 9 percent, which may reflect some improvement in economic conditions from April to May.
Steel production in the United States in May declined by 36.6 percent to an estimated 4.8 million tons compared with 7.6 million tons in the same month last year, according to the WSA figures. Year to date through the first five months, production in the U.S. totaled an estimated 31.3 million tons, down 15.5 percent versus the 2019 period.
Crude steel output for other countries in May, compared with May 2019, included: Japan, 5.9 million metric tons, down 31.8 percent; India, 5.8 million tons, down 39.1 percent; South Korea, 5.4 million tons, down 14.1 percent; the EU, 10,5 million tons, down 26.8 percent; the CIS, 8.2 million tons, down 7.6 percent; Brazil, 2.2 million tons, down 22.6 percent; and Turkey, 2.3 million tons, down 25.8 percent
WSA notes that due to the ongoing difficulties presented by the pandemic, these figures are estimates and subject to revision.
Tim TriplettRead more from Tim Triplett
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