Global steel production increased year-on-year in February 2021

AK&M 05 April 2021 11:29

In February 2021, global steel production increased year-on-year although unable to surpass the January high. A total of 150.2 million tonnes of steel were produced, as followed from data provided by World Steel Association (WSA), which is 4.1% above the previous year's result, but 7.9% below January, according to issue 1416 of AK&M Information Agency's "RUSSIAN INDUSTRIES: PRODUCTION, FINANCE, SECURITIES. Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metallurgy" monthly paper dated March 31, 2021.

Global steelmaking hit a new historic high of 163 million tonnes in January 2021. The total steel output in the first two months of 2021 reached 315 million tonnes (+6.6% year-on-year), with China accounting for 55% of the global output. The country's share in global steelmaking has been continuously increasing since April 2020, only pausing in November 2020. It should also be noted that the 54 countries beyond the top 10 steel producers contribute a mere 14% of the global output.

Russia reduced steel production by 1.3% YoY to 5.7 million tonnes in February, retreating to the fifth position among steelmaking leaders, while the U.S. advanced to the 4th position (according to the WSA). 2-month steel production in Russia decreased by 0.2% year-on-year to 12.1 million tonnes. The U.S. reduced steel output by 9.9%, Japan by 4.7%, Germany by 2.6%, while China increased production by 12.9%, India by 3.4%, South Korea by 3.3%, Turkey by 9.4%.

Non-ferrous metals prices surged in February, although the growth weakened by March. In particular, the average aluminum February price on the LME increased by 3.7% against the previous month to $2,079.2 per tonne. As of March 26, aluminum prices reached $2,260.5 per tonne, the highest level since June 2018. According to RBC analysts, global demand for aluminum will exceed supply by 0.3% this year, by 2.9% in 2022, with an ensuring destocking. Given substantial higher transport and freight costs, combined with poor primary aluminum supply, we should expect an increase in aluminum prices, especially in the U.S. and Europe.

Gold decreased in price compared with the beginning of the year, its price on Comex decreasing 11.6% to $1,682.4 per troy ounce (as of March 30) against $1,903.6 as of December 31, 2020 as a result of a stronger US dollar and hopes for a global economic recovery. The investment market's interest in the metal weakened, and the decline on equities markets also took its toll.

An in-depth review of the trends and performance results of the ferrous and non-ferrous metallurgy market in February 2021 is provided in issue 1416 of AK&M Information Agency's "RUSSIAN INDUSTRIES: PRODUCTION, FINANCE, SECURITIES. Ferrous and Non-ferrous Metallurgy" monthly paper.