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Energy

Global steel output surges 23% in April, helped by high prices

2 minute read

An employee monitors molten iron being poured into a container at a steel plant in Hefei, Anhui province September 9, 2013. China's average daily crude steel output stood almost unchanged at 2.119 million tonnes between Aug. 21-31, compared with 2.118 million tonnes between Aug. 11-20, data from the China Iron & Steel Association showed on Monday. REUTERS/Stringer

Global crude steel production jumped 23% year-on-year in April, data showed on Friday, and output was expected to keep rising in coming months as coronavirus restrictions ease and high prices encourage production.

Worldwide output of steel climbed to 169.5 million tonnes last month, industry group World Steel Association data showed, but the percentage rise was exaggerated due to closures a year ago when the pandemic was at its height.

"The year-on-year growth rate is flattered by base effects," Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

"That being said, by our calculations, daily global steel output rose by close to 3.5% month-on-month in April...in large part owing to high and rising global steel prices."

Lower month-on-month output in India was offset by large gains in China, Russia and Brazil, she added.

Crude steel output from China, the world's top producer and consumer of the metal, gained 7.5% in April compared with March, the World Steel Association data showed, despite efforts by authorities to dampen output to curb carbon emissions.

Renewed pandemic restrictions were likely behind the 14.4% month-on-month drop in Indian steel production and the 2% dip in European Union output, Bain said.

The association, a group of producers that accounts for about 85% of global steel output, last month upgraded its global demand forecast to a rise of 5.8% this year.

"A number of capacity expansions and restarts have been announced, particularly in the U.S. and India. Accordingly, we expect global steel production to rise this year, which will ultimately lead to lower regional prices," Bain said.

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