Global steel output rises in September, lifted by Chinese rebound

LONDON (Reuters) - Global steel output edged up 2.9% year on year in September, the second consecutive month of gains after five months of declines as the coronavirus pandemic depressed industrial activity, data showed on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: A worker welds a bicycle steel rim at a factory manufacturing sports equipment in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China September 2, 2019. China Daily via REUTERS

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

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

For a graphic on China Steel Output Resilient During Pandemic:

“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% in the United States, dropped 19.3% in Japan and fell 9.7% in Germany.

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

Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Mark Potter and David Evans