According to data provided by the World Steel Association and the Korea Iron and Steel Association, crude steel production in Korea from January to September amounted to 49.6 million tons, down 7.5 percent from the same period last year. Korea’s crude steel production is projected to fall below 70 million tonnes this year for the first time in four years. But Korea is expected to remain the world’s sixth largest crude steel producer as falling demand for cars, ships and construction will affect the global industry.
This was higher than the world average (minus 3.2 percent) and better than minus 19.1 percent in Japan, minus 18.8 percent in the United States, and minus 16.5 percent in India. In opposition to this trend, China produced 4.5% more steel during this period thanks to local government investment in infrastructure.
Until July, the monthly production was about 5 million tons, and in August it began to grow.
Industry insiders predict domestic steel production this year to be around 67 million tonnes. Production last fell below 70 million tonnes in 2016, when 68.6 million tonnes were produced.
Crude steel production is seen as a barometer reflecting the competitiveness of a country’s iron and steel industry.
“Production of crude steel worldwide has declined due to the impact of Covid-19,” said a steel industry official, who asked not to be identified. “The situation was not so good in the first half of the year, but it has improved since the third quarter as demand for cars and infrastructure businesses such as construction recovered.”
The spokesman added that Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election is expected to spur the development of the steel business.
“Even if [President-elect] Joe Biden tries to stimulate the infrastructure business in the United States by using steel from local steelmakers, it means other countries using US steel will try to import it from other countries. This will benefit local metallurgists as well, ”the representative added.
Such expectations have already been reflected in the shares of metallurgical companies.
Shares in major steelmaker Posco were only worth 133,000 won ($ 119) in March, but closed at 236,000 won on Thursday, up 77.4 percent. Rival Hyundai Steel also rose from 12,400 won in March to 31,900 won on Thursday, up 157.3 percent.
“The global steel market is expected to grow in 2021, thanks to the eased impact of Covid-19 and a stable steel market in China,” said analyst Pak Sung-bon of Hana Financial Investment.