Global crude steel production celebrated a triumphant rebound in 2018, mainly thanks to strong steel production performance led by the world’s top 10 largest steel producing countries. According to the latest industrial statistics released by the World Steel Association (worldsteel), the world’s crude steel production reached 1,630 million tonnes (Mt) for the year 2016, up by 0.8% compared to 2015. While crude steel production in Europe, the Americas, and Africa suffered a downward trend, steel production in Asia, Middle East, and Oceania still saw positive growth.
Top 10 steel producing countries in the world (million ton)
Leading the way in 2016 was steel production in Asia, which increased 1.6% to 1.13 billion metric tons. Production of crude steel in China reached 808.4 million metric tons in 2016, increased by 1.2% from 2015’s figure, making it the world’s largest steel producer once again. With the increase, China is now responsible for nearly half of the world’s total steel production.
Other major steel producing countries in Asia include Japan, which produced 104.8 million metric tons in 2016, a decline of 0.3% from 2015; India — who saw the largest growth among the top steel producing countries from this list — where crude steel production for the year was 95.6 million metric tons, up by 7.4% from the prior year; and South Korea, which produced 68.6 million metric tons, a 1.6% drop in production.
In Europe, crude steel production in 2016 reached 162.3 million metric tons, representing a 2.3% decline from 2015’s figures. Within Europe, Germany produced 41.1 million metric tons for the year, a decline of 1.4%; Italy produced 23.3 million metric tons, a 6% increase; and Spain produced 13.7 million metric tons, a 0.8% drop.
In North America, total crude steel production held steady at 111 million metric tons, though U.S. steel production dropped by 0.3% to 78.6 million metric tons, making it the world’s 4th largest steel producing country in 2016.
When it comes to other regions, South America produced 13.1 million metric tons of steel in 2016, down by 10.6% over the previous year. The African output too plunged by 4.4% to 13.1 million tons in 2016. By contrast, Middle East region had strong growth in steel production during 2016. The output by the region rose by 7.0% to 31.5 million tons. A 2.1% growth in production was also achieved by the Oceania region in 2016.
Commenting on the recent global steel industry, Edwin Basson, Director General of Worldsteel, said “Much has changed in 50 years — back in 1967, the world produced just less than 500 million tonnes of steel. In 2016, the world produced just over 1,600 million tonnes. Most of the growth came from newly industrializing nations – Brazil, China, India, Iran, and Mexico.
Steel as a product is so versatile and fundamental to our lives that it is considered essential to economic growth. Consequently, for most of the past 50 years, the world has been producing increasingly more steel and sometimes more than was actually required, while at the same time, making the product universally affordable and promoting intense competition between its producers.”