Tuesday , 6 December 2022

Steel Production Shifted from China to Other Countries In 2021

Production of crude steel – ingots, semi-finished products (billets, blooms, slabs), and liquid steel for castings – soared globally, and spiked in the U.S., but fell in China for the first time in years, and China’s share of global crude steel production, after soaring for years

This version of the original article by Wolf Richter (wolfstreet.com) has been edited [ ] and abridged (…) to provide you with a faster and easier read. Also note that this complete paragraph must be included in any re-posting to avoid copyright infringement.
  • In 2017, China started outproducing the rest of the world, and the gap exploded in 2019 and 2020.
  • In 2021, however, the gap narrowed, falling 3.1% to 1,032 Mt, the first decline since 2015 – and the largest decline in the data going back to 1996 – lowering China’s share of global production by nearly 4 percentage points to 52.9%.
  • In the rest of the world, production jumped by 12.8% to a record 920 Mt, after having sagged in 2020 and 2019…

Over the two decades since 2001, global crude steel production surged by 129%, and nearly all of that gain was produced in China. Production in NAFTA (the U.S., Canada, and Mexico) exceeded China’s production through the year 2000. In 2001, China’s production blew past NAFTA and the gap exploded from there, as NAFTA’s production declined, and China’s soared…

…Most of the crude steel that China produced was used in China as input material for higher-value finished steel products using 56% of the world’s crude steel in its construction and manufacturing industries. That’s roughly the same portion of global crude steel that it manufactured so it’s not that China is dumping crude steel on the global market; it produces the crude steel largely for domestic use, but then exports some of the higher value finished steel products, such as bar, pipe, and rolled steel. Chinese manufacturers also use the steel to manufacture sophisticated equipment with steel components, such as automotive components, cars, appliances, or high-speed train systems that are then sold domestically or exported.

Steel goes into nearly everything so in 2021, amid all the horrid supply-chain problems, the world learned that it’s not such a great idea to be reliant to such a great extent on just one country and, while diversifying steel production to other countries, including the U.S., was just a baby step, it was still a huge change in direction.