LONDON, June 20 Global crude steel production
rose at an annual 2.2 percent rate in May as output in China hit
new record levels and North American and European mills cranked
up production, industry data showed, pressuring prices the world
Global crude steel output hit 141 million tonnes in May,
nearing the record seen in March. The increase was driven by an
annual 2.6 percent growth in China's output to 70.4 million
tonnes, data from the World Steel Association showed.
Global steel prices ST-CRU-IDX are at their lowest levels
since August last year and not far off the 3-1/2 year lows
reached last June. The price falls have come despite an increase
in demand in western economies.
"Growth in steel output is exceeding growth in demand and
is adding to the global surplus," said MEPS analyst Jeremy
"Steel prices are going to fall on a year-on-year basis. Raw
material costs like iron ore are coming down, but that's not the
whole story; the excess supply is a pressure. China's exports
are soaring," he added.
According to China's General Administration of Customs,
Chinese exports of steel, including stainless, hit 8.07 mln
tonnes in May, the highest ever level and an annual increase of
41.5 percent in the year to date.
The pressure on steelmakers' margins is being mitigated,
however, by a 32 percent fall in iron ore prices .IO62-CNI=SIn
this year, outpacing the fall in steel prices.
Output in Europe, the second-largest steel-producing region
after China, grew by 2.7 percent to 15.04 million tonnes, while
output in North America grew 3.3 percent to 10.22 million
tonnes, the World Steel Association data showed.
The fast industrialising Middle East showed the highest
growth rate in May, rising 7.3 percent to 2.4 million tonnes,
the data showed.
(Reporting by Maytaal Angel; editing by Jane Baird)