Raw steel production fell 8.2% from January to February, totaling in 126,579,000 in the latest monthly tally for 67 countries, reported by the World Steel Association. That figure represents a 4.1% increase over the February 2016 total, and brings 2017 total global steel production to 26,416,000 million metric tons, a rise of 5.8% year-to-date versus the 2016 two-month total.

World Steel Assn. noted that February 2016 had 29 days, a point that seems to enhance the improvement in the latest figures. It may also lessen the significance of the current month-to-month decline.

The World Steel Assn. documents raw-steel output and capacity utilization rates for 67 countries. Raw (or crude) steel is the output of basic oxygen furnaces and electric arc furnaces that is cast into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel reports tonnage and capacity utilization data for carbon and carbon alloy steel in 67 countries; data for production of stainless and specialty alloy steels are not included.

The raw steel capacity utilization rate is also encouraging: during February, raw-steel capacity utilization worldwide was 70.3%, up 1.1% from January and up 4% from the February 2016 rate.

In an October 2016 forecast for global steel demand, the Association forecast that 2017 global steel demand would increase 0.5% to 1.51 billion metric tons this year. The February results add to recent evidence of growing stability in the global steel industry — particularly in China and India — which for about three years has been beset with weak demand and excess capacity.

Chinese raw steel production for February was estimated at 61.2 million metric tons, down 9.5% from January but 4.6% higher than February 2016. China’s year-to-date steel output is 128.8 million metric tons, 5.82% higher than the January-February 2016 total.  

In Japan, February raw steel production fell 7.4% from January to February, to 8.3 million metric tons. That total is nearly even, -0.1%, with February 2016’s output, and brings the 2017 YTD total to 17.3 million metric tons, 1.3% higher than 2016’s comparable figure.

Indian raw steel production totaled 8.1 million metric tons during February, 6.2% less than January, and 8.9% more than February 2016.  The two-month total for this year is 16.8 million metric tons, 12.1% higher than last year’s January-February tonnage results.

The South Korean steel industry produced 5.5 million tons during February, 2.5% less than the January output, but an 8.3% increase over the February 2016 figure. The nation’s year-to-date result is 11.15 million metric tons, 3.6% higher than 2016’s YTD total.

Across the European Union, raw steel production was down 5.25% from January, but remained nearly even (-0.6%) with February 2016, and stands 1.65% higher than last year’s year-to-date result.

In Germany, the largest steelmaking nation in the E.U., February raw steel production totaled 3.5 million metric tons, down 5.3% from January but up 2.6% versus the February 2016 tonnage. The nation’s January-February total is 7.1 million metric tons, 1.85% higher than the comparable 2016 figure.

Italian steelmakers produced 2.0 million metric tons of raw steel during February, 8.1% more than during January and 1.2% more than during February 2016. The cumulative total for 2017 is 3.8 million metric tons, just 0.8% more than last February’s YTD total.

The French steel industry produced 1.2 million metric tons of raw steel in February, 6.7% less than in January, and 5.8% less than during February 2016. The YTD total also is down, -2.9% compared to January-February 2016.

Steelmakers in Spain produced 1.1 million metric tons of raw steel during February, down 2.1% from January and down 4.6% compared to February 2016. For January-February 2016, the Spanish steel industry has produced 6.6% less than during the comparable period of 2016.

Turkey’s raw steel production totaled 2.7 million metric tons during February, 6.5% less than during January but up 15.6% over the February 2016 total. The YTD total is 5.67 million metric tons, 14.1% higher than last year’s two-month total.

Russian steelmakers produced 5.6 million metric tons during February, 9.7% less than during January but nearly even (-0.3%) with the February 2016 output. Russia’s YTD raw steel production stands at 11.8 million metric tons, 5.6% more than the two-month result for 2016.

In the Ukraine, February raw steel production fell 9.6% from January to 1.9 million metric tons, 3.6% less than February 2016. The YTD output is 4.0 million metric ton, 2.4% more than the January-February 2016 total.

Steelmakers in Brazil produced 2.6 million metric tons of raw steel during February, a decline of 9.0% from January but a rise of 5.7% from February 2016. For the year-to-date, the Brazilian industry has produced 5.4 million metric tons of raw steel, 9.5% more than during the January-February 2016 period.

Finally, the U.S. steel industry produced 6.4 million metric tons (7.0 million short tons) of raw steel in February 2017, 8.8% less than during January and 1.0% less than during February 2016. U.S. steelmakers have produced 13.3 million metric tons during the first two months of 2017, 3.5% more than during January-February 2016.