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Asian majors buck downward steel output trend in April

Asia – It proved to be only a short stay above 70% capacity utilisation for the world’s steelmaking industry. Having achieved a revised figure of 70.7% in March this year, utilisation slipped to 69.2% in the ensuing month – equivalent to a decline of 3.6 percentage points from April last year.

That said, this April’s crude steel production for the 66 countries reporting to the World Steel Association (WSA) was only a slender 0.5% short of the tally for the same month last year at 134.906 million tonnes, giving a four-month cumulative total that was 2.8% or approaching 15 million tonnes lower than last year.

However, the world’s leading three producers actually increased their outputs in April: China by 0.5% year on year to 69.42 million tonnes; Japan by 1.2% to 8.498 million tonnes; and India by 3.9% to an estimated 7.8 million tonnes. China and Japan registered crude steel production declines of 2.3% for this year’s January-April period whereas India posted an increase of 2.3%.

The USA upped its output in April by 2.5% year on year to 6.571 million tonnes but the four-month running total of 26.221 million tonnes trailed that for the same period last year by 0.3%. Production in Turkey and Ukraine, however, was higher in both April (by 5.3% and 11.7%, respectively) and also across the opening four months of the year (by 2.8% and 16.8%).

April and January-April declines in crude steel production were recorded by: the EU-28 (-5.2% and -6.5%); Russia (-0.4% and -3.9%); Brazil (-20.6% and -14%); Africa (-10.2% and -19.7%), the Middle East (-2.6% and -3.6%); and Oceania (-5.6% and -4.8%).

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