Global steel production remains elevated thanks to a record-breaking surge in China

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Global steel production remained at elevated levels in April, thanks largely to a rebound in Chinese output.

According to data released by the World Steel Association (worldsteel), global crude steel production came in at 142.1 million tonnes last month, fractionally below the record-high level of 143.5 million tonnes in March.

Despite the small pullback, production levels were still up 5% on the levels of a year earlier.

Source: worldsteel

A rebound in Chinese output offset softer production levels elsewhere, rising to 72.8 million tonnes, the highest level on record.

Not only was this up 4.9% year-on-year but meant that the nation — yet again — produced more steel than the rest of the world combined in April.

Worldsteel said that global crude steel production excluding China came in at 69.3 million tonnes, down on the 71.5 million tonne figure of March but still up 5.1% on the levels of a year earlier.

The group said that Japan produced 8.8 million tonnes of crude steel, an increase of 3.0% compared to April 2016, while that in India totalled 8.07 million tonnes, up 4.8% year-on-year.

Production in the US came in at 6.7 million tonnes, an increase of 1.8% on the levels recorded in April 2016.

The recovery in global steel production over the past year has been a major factor behind the rebound in iron ore and coking coal prices over the same period.

Largely reflecting the shuttering of inefficient and outdated steel mills in China, Worldsteel said that the global capacity utilisation rate across the sector rose to 73.6%, up from 71.9% in March and well above the lows of 64.9% seen in December 2015.

Source: worldsteel

The Chinese government has pledged to eliminate 100 to 150 million tonnes of steel capacity by 2020. 50 million tonnes of capacity is slated to be removed in this year alone, something the government says is already 63.4% complete.

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