Worldsteel reported crude steel production in China at 68.1 million metric tonnes in December, 1.5% higher than in December 2013 and showing a 4.1% increase in the average daily production rate compared to November 2014. Full-year 2014 Chinese crude production was 822.7 million tonnes, 0.9% higher than full-year 2014 output.

In addition, Chinese net finished steel exports (exports minus imports) in December were another record high at 9.1 million tonnes, 118% higher than in December 2013. Full-year 2014 net finished steel exports were 79.5 million tonnes, 65% higher than net finished exports in 2013.

China Monthly Crude Steel Production 2004 to 2014
(thousand metric tonnes)

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Worldsteel published December and full-year 2014 global crude steel production on January 22nd. World crude steel production was 133.7 million tonnes in December, 0.1% higher than in December 2013. Full-year 2014 production was 1,662 million tonnes, 1.2% higher than in 2013.

Chinese crude production accounted for 49.5% of full-year world output and showed a 0.9% increase between 2013 and 2014 (based on revised Worldsteel figures for 2013, otherwise the increase is 6.2% using original monthly production figures). Other notable changes in full-year output between 2013 and 2014 include a 1.7% increase in the European Union 28 countries (with increases in Poland, France and Germany and despite a drop in Italy), a 2.8% drop in the CIS (with a 2.6% increase in Russia and a 17.1% drop in the Ukraine), and finally a 1.7% increase in the US.

All the data for 2014 and for a number of prior years can be viewed in the Nerds spreadsheet below. Note that monthly production data may not match the annual yearly summary data, particularly in China, due to year-end revisions.

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Based on reported import licenses, US long products imports increased 2% from 373,000 short tons in November to 381,000 tons in December. Long products imports in December 2013 were 280,000 tons and in December 2012 they were 236,000 tons. Based on the recent license report, full-year 2014 long products imports were 4,802,000 tons, 25% higher than 3,849,000 tons in 2013 and 43% higher than 3,358,000 tons in 2012.

The rise in December was mainly due to higher wire rod imports and despite a decline in rebar and parallel flange sections imports. Wire rod imports rose from a number of countries including Japan, Turkey, and Brazil while rebar imports fell mainly from Turkey and parallel flange sections imports dropped from Korea.

I will update the chart below to show mid-January license data when the figures are published this week (January 20th).

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2014

short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports fell 5% from 1,329,000 short tons in November to 1,268,000 tons in December. Flat products imports in December 2013 were 738,000 tons and in December 2012 they were 721,000 tons. Based on the recent licenses report, full-year 2014 flat products imports were 14,233,000 tons, 69% higher than 8,438,000 tons in 2013 and 60% higher than 8,917,000 tons in 2012.

The decline in December was mainly due to lower hot dip galvanized and cold rolled imports. Hot dip galvanized imports fell about 10% from a number of countries including India, Italy, and China, while cold rolled imports fell just under 10%. Cut plate and hot roll imports were flat between November and December.

I will update the chart below to show mid-January license data when the figures are published the week of January 12th.

SIMA US import licenses and actuals, flat products
December 2011 to December 2014

short tons

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Worldsteel reported Chinese crude steel production at 63.3 million metric tonnes in November, 0.2% lower than in November 2013 based on revised figures for November 2013. January-to-November crude steel production for 2014 was 2.0% higher than in the same period last year.

China’s net finished steel exports (exports-imports) in November were another record at 8.6 million tonnes, which is 129% higher than in November 2013. Net exports over crude steel production in November reached 14%, compared to 6% in November 2013 and an average of 7% between January 2012 and November 2014. Year-to-November 2014 net finished steel exports were 60% higher in 2014 than in 2013.

China monthly crude steel production
November 2004 to November 2014

thousand metric tonnes

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Worldsteel published November’s world crude steel production on December 19th. World crude steel production was 130.5 million metric tonnes, 0.1% higher than in November 2013. Production for the months of January to November 2014 were 1.9% higher than in the same period last year.

China accounted for 48% of world crude steel production in November with output of 63.3 million tonnes, down 0.2% on November last year. Significant growth year-on-year elsewhere in Asia included a 5% production increase in India and Taiwan and a 6% rise in South Korea. In the CIS, Russian production increased 6% between November 2013 and November 2014 and in the Ukraine, production fell 29%. In the NAFTA region, output in the US increased 2% and in Mexico, production was up 9%. In contrast, production in the European Union fell 0.7% driven by a 14% drop in Italian output, and finally, Turkish production was down 9%.

All the data for November 2014 and for a number of prior years can be found in the Nerds spreadsheet below.

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Based on reported import licenses, and after an increase in October, US long products imports declined 18% from 494,000 short tons in October to 405,000 tons in November. November 2014 long products imports were 33% higher than in November 2013 and January-to-November longs imports were 25% higher than in the same period last year.

The fall in November was mainly due to lower wire rod imports, where volumes were lower mainly from Turkey, but also from the UK, and despite increases from the Ukraine and Spain. All other long product categories had lower imports except rebar, where imports grew about 10% on higher volumes from Spain and Turkey.

Long products licenses for December as reported December 16th were 182,000 tons, which is likely to mean that full-month December imports will be a bit lower than November’s.

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2014

short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports declined 9% from 1,538,000 short tons in October to 1,395,000 tons in November. Flat products imports in November 2013 were 676,000 tons and in November 2012 they were 745,000 tons. Flats imports for the first 11 months of 2014 were 69% higher than in the same period last year.

Hot rolled imports declined by about 10%, mainly due to lower volumes from Japan and Russia and despite significant increases from a number of countries including Australia. In addition, cold rolled imports dropped by almost 20% due mostly to lower imports from China. Hot dip galvanized imports also fell, by about 10%, with significant declines particularly from China and in this case despite a large increase from India. Cut plate was the only flat product category showing higher imports in November.

I will update the chart below to show mid-December license data when the figures are published the week of December 15th.

SIMA US import licenses and actuals, flat products
November 2011 to November 2014

short tons

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