South Korea’s crude steel yield will be a four-year low this year amid subdued global demand from the pandemic.
The country’s crude steel output came at 49.6 million tons this year through September, down 7.5 percent from a year-ago period, according to the Korea Iron & Steel Association and the World Steel Association on Thursday. Monthly output stopped at around 5 million tons until July and recovered in the following months.
The full year, output would likely stop at 67 million or 68 million tons.
The last time that annual crude steel output dipped below 70 million tons was in 2016. The total production was 71 million tons in 2017, 72.5 million tons in 2018, and 71.4 million tons in 2019.
Crude steel output serves as a barometer for the country’s strength in the steel market.
Steel mills adjusted output by 10 to 15 percent in the first half on reduced demand from carmakers, shipbuilders, constructors, and other major clients amid Covid-19 economic fallouts. In April when the virus crisis was at its height, crude steel output fell 15.4 percent on year.
Globally, steel output fell 3.2 percent on year.
China was the only among the major steel producers that reported an on-year growth of 4.5 percent.
Korea’s global ranking in crude steel production this year is expected at 6th, the same as last year. The top 5 producers have been China, India, Japan, the U.S. and Russia.
The World Steel Association in a recent report projected global steel demand in 2021 to grow 4.1 percent on-year to 1.795 billion tons. It revised up the projection from its June estimate of 1.7 billion tons upon signs of demand recovery, especially in China.
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