Raw steel production rose 3.2% worldwide during May, rising to 136,302 million metric tons from 132,116 million metric tons reported for April.  The monthly increase continued a month-to-month, down/up/down trend in steel output dating to December 2012.

The World Steel Association, the Brussels-based trade group that represents steelmakers in 63 countries, supplied the results.

May’s tonnage gains were widespread — Asia, the U.S., and the European Union — in contrast to several recent monthly summaries showing narrow production increases confined mainly to China’s steelmakers.

 “Raw” (or crude steel, in World Steel's reporting) describes the primary product of electric arc furnaces and basic oxygen furnaces, prior to metallurgical refining and casting into semi-finished products, such as slabs, blooms, or billets. World Steel’s monthly report totals the global carbon and carbon alloy steel output; Stainless steels and other specialty alloy steels are not included.

The May global tonnage represents a 2.6% year-to-year increase over the May 2012 total, and it brings the current year-to-date total to 658,002 million metric tons. That puts the five-month total for 2013 7.0% above the January-May 2012 total.

The Chinese industry once more outdistanced all others in its production volume for the latest month. China’s 67,034 million metric tons of output during May represents slightly less than half of all steel produced for the month.

China’s May result also represented a 7.3% increase over the May 2012 output.

The rest of Asia produced 23,942 million metric tons during May – better by far than any other region in the summary report, even without China’s contribution.

Japan’s steelmakers had a May total raw steel output of 9,622 million metric tons, a 4.9% improvement over their April total, and an increase of 4.3% over the May 2012 result.

South Korean producers reported 5,530 million metric tons, a 6.0% rise over the previous month, but a -7.1% drop from May 2012’s total.