Global steel output falls in August, first time in a year

BY Reuters | ECONOMIC | 09/23/21 12:10 PM EDT

By Eric Onstad

LONDON, Sept 23 (Reuters) - Global steel production slipped by 1.4% year-on-year in August, the first decline in more than a year, and is likely to decline further in the coming months as officials in top producer China seek to curb pollution.

Crude steel output fell to 156.8 million tonnes in August, World Steel Association data showed on Thursday, the first decline since July 2020.

Output in China tumbled by 13.2% to 83.2 million tonnes, the data showed.

"Given that the authorities in China are proactively encouraging lower output there, further falls in the coming months appear likely," Caroline Bain, chief commodities economist at Capital Economics, said in a note.

"However, it still remains to be seen if the Chinese authorities can stay the course, particularly if prices soar or shortages start to emerge."

Earlier this month, China's environment ministry said it plans to include more cities in its 2021 winter air pollution campaign as Beijing attempts to clear smog-laden skies.

Other countries saw higher output as strong steel prices and healthy demand boosted profits.

Steel production in Japan jumped 22.9% in August compared to the same month in 2020 while output surged by 26.8% in the United States and by 8.2% in India.

"Reportedly, India has been a beneficiary of China's efforts to curtail its steel exports," Bain added. (Reporting by Eric Onstad; Editing by Jon Boyle and David Evans)

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