Global steel output rises

    353

    LONDON – Global steel output edged up 2.9 percent year on year in September, the second consecutive month of gains after five months of declines as the coronavirus pandemic depressed industrial activity.

    World crude steel production increased to 156.4 million tons, boosted by a strong recovery in China, which saw a 10.9 percent jump to 92.6 million tons, the World Steel Association said.

    China is the world’s top producer and consumer of the metal.

    “All the growth was in China’s output. It looks increasingly likely that a revival in production elsewhere will have to wait until 2021,” said Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics.

    “However, demand growth (in China) may ease back from here as the government has tightened lending conditions for property developers.”

    There was a stark contrast between China, which has bounced back strongly due to heavy infrastructure stimulus spending, and the rest of the world.

    Steel production slid 18.5 percent in the United States, dropped 19.3 percent in Japan and fell 9.7 percent in Germany.

    For the first nine months of the year, steel production fell 3.2 percent globally and gained 4.8 percent in China, according to data from the World Steel Association, a group of producers that accounts for about 85 percent of global steel output.

    The group last week forecast that the coronavirus-related decline in global steel demand this year will be less than expected at 2.4 percent after a buoyant recovery in China. —Reuters