Worldsteel reported Chinese crude steel production at 65.5 million metric tonnes in January, 4.7% lower than in January 2014 and 3.8% lower than in December 2015.

China’s net finished steel exports (exports minus imports) in January were 9.1 million tonnes based on a record high volume of exports at 10.3 million tonnes. January net exports were 68% higher than in the same month last year. And finally, net exports as a portion of crude steel production in January stayed about the same as in the past few months at 14%, but much higher than the 8% level seen in January 2014.

China monthly crude steel production
January 2005 to January 2015

thousand metric tonnes

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Worldsteel published January’s world crude steel production on February 20th. World crude steel production was 133.1 million metric tonnes, 2.9% lower than in January 2014 and 0.5% lower than in December 2014.

China accounted for 49% of world crude steel production in January with output of 65.5 million tonnes, down 4.7% compared to January 2014. Significant declines were reported elsewhere in Asia such as a 4.0% decrease in Japan and a 5.0% fall in South Korea. Other important year-on-year changes include a 6.0% increase in production in Russia and a 25.2% drop in the Ukraine. In addition, Turkish production was down 10.4% compared to January 2014 while Brazilian production increased 7.7%. European Union output fell by 1.1% over the same period, driven by lower production in Italy and France and despite an 11.8% increase in Spain. And finally, US production grew by 0.4%.

All the data for January 2015 and for a number of prior years can be found in the Nerds spreadsheet below.

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Based on reported import licenses, US long products imports rose 1% from 353,000 short tons in December to 358,000 tons in January. Long products imports in January 2014 were 447,000 tons and in January 2013 they were 267,000 tons.

There was little change in import levels because rebar imports increased by about the same volume as wire rod imports fell. Rebar imports increased significantly from Turkey and Japan, even if this was offset by declines from Spain and Portugal. Wire rod imports fell from a number of countries including Turkey, Japan, Brazil and the UK.

Long products import licenses for February as reported mid-month on February 18th were 413,000 tons, which is likely to mean that full-month February longs imports will be much higher than January’s.

SIMA US long products import licenses and import actuals
2012 to 2015

short tons

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Based on reported import licenses, US flat products imports rose 9% from 1,333,000 short tons in December to 1,451,000 tons in January. Flat products imports in January 2014 were 921,000 tons and in January 2013 they were 666,000 tons.

The rise was mainly due to an increase in hot rolled imports, while cut plate imports were flat and cold rolled and hot dip galvanized imports both fell. Hot rolled imports increased significantly from Australia, Turkey, Brazil, Korea, and the UK, and despite Russia dropping out of the hot roll import market.

I will update the chart below to show mid-February licenses when the figures are published the week of February 16th.

SIMA US import licenses and actuals, flat products
January 2012 to January 2015

short tons

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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 2013 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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