Provisional estimates indicate that global crude steel production in 2017 increased by 5.3 percent, year-on-year, to reach 1.69 billion tonnes. China’s reported output growth, at 5.7 percent, resulted from rising production by the country’s major mills, following the closure of hundreds of induction furnaces. Output from these small facilities was previously not included in official statistics.
In the rest of the world, crude steel production expanded by 4.9 percent, compared with the figure recorded in the previous year. Increased output was a reflection of improving global economic conditions and reduced Chinese steel export volumes. Robust gains in steel production were registered in most regions of the world.
MEPS predicts that growth in Chinese steel production will stagnate in 2018 with the annual out-turn of crude steel forecast to be similar to the 2017 figure. Output in the rest of the world is expected to continue rising, albeit at a slower rate than in the previous year, at around 2.6 percent. Substantial expansion is envisaged, in India, Iran and Vietnam, resulting from investment in steelmaking capacity in these countries. Steady output gains are anticipated, in the United States and European Union this year.
Global steel production growth is expected to stagnate in 2019 before rising modestly in the subsequent two years. By 2021 China is expected to account for 48 percent of global steel output – marginally below the peak of 50 percent, recorded in 2013. India should establish itself as the second largest producing nation in the world, replacing Japan. The positions of the fourth to ninth major steel manufacturing countries – the United States, Russia, South Korea, Germany, Turkey, Brazil – are expected to be unchanged. Output gains in Iran should result in the country becoming the tenth largest steel producing nation by the start of the next decade.