Global crude steel production slipped in September, led by lower output levels in China and abroad.
According to data released by the World Steel Association (worldsteel), total crude steel output fell to 141.46 million tonnes during the month, pulling back from the record-high level of 144.8 million tonnes set one month earlier.
It was the lowest monthly total since February this year.
Lower production in China contributed most to the decline, coming in at 71.8 million tonnes from 74.6 million tonnes in August. The reduction likely reflects the early introduction of production cuts to help improve air quality in northern regions over winter months in China, along with a slowdown ahead of a week-long holiday that began on October 1.
Still, even with the moderation recorded in September, total output from the world’s largest producer was still up 5.3% from a year earlier, boosted by strong domestic demand and improving economic conditions.
For the remaining 65 members of worldsteel, production slipped from 70.2 million tonnes in August to 69.6 million tonnes in September. From a year earlier, that still represented an increase of 5.8%.
Of the major Asian producers, output in Japan, India and South Korea stood at 8.6 million tonnes, 8.2 million tonnes and 5.9 million tonnes respectively, up 2%, 1.9% and 2.8% on a year earlier.
Production levels in the United States came in at 6.7 million tonnes, up 8.6% on 12 months earlier, while that in Russia stood at 6 million tonnes, an increase of 5.8% on September 2016.
Largely reflecting closures of inefficient and uneconomic mills in China, total capacity utilisation across worldsteel’s members rose to 73.5%, up from 72.9% in August and 70.7% 12 months earlier.