During 2020, the global iron and steel industry could not avoid the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The industry was affected by both a decrease in consumer demand for metal and problems with its own staff. For world steel production, the largest decline in volumes (-13.1% YoY) occurred in April.
In the country that has become the source of the epidemic – China – the minimum production fell back in February. Metallurgy of other regions reacted to the “import” of COVID-19 much later. And some countries, for example Germany, could not stop the decline in steel production until July.
In other countries, as a result of the decrease in supply and demand for steel at the end of the half year, it also turned out to be very different. In the top ten world producers (Table 1), the same China stands out, which very quickly overcame all the problems and, as a result, somewhat increased steel production in the first half of the year (+ 2.2%). Moreover, during this period, China reduced exports and increased imports of steel products, i.e. reached a noticeable (about 3%) growth in its domestic consumption. An even greater plus of the indicators of ferrous metallurgy for the half-year was demonstrated by the statistics of Iran.
India (-24.2%) received especially significant production losses for the first half of the year among the leading metallurgical countries. Within 15-20% of losses – ferrous metallurgy of Japan, USA, Germany and Brazil. This industry has experienced a similar decline in most of the EU countries, Mexico and Canada. However, a record failure is observed in the metallurgy of South Africa (-49.4%) and Argentina (-36.6%).