South African steel production drops 6.3% year on year in July
22 August 2017
SA’s steel production recovered by 7.6% in July to 493,000 tons from June’s 458,000 tons, but this still left steel output down 6.3% from a year ago, according to the World Steel Association.
In June steel production plunged by 15.9% year on year, but this seems to have been a once-off due to production problems at steelmaker ArcelorMittal SA’s Vanderbijlpark Works.
Steel production is an important indicator of a country’s economic health, so economists are worried that the sharp drop in June could indicate that the ratings downgrade chickens have come home to roost, as in the first five months, there had been only a small 0.8% year-on-year drop.
Global steel production grew by an annual 6.3% in July to a near-record 143.2-million tons with China’s steel production surging by 10.3% to 74-million tons, which is good news for iron ore producer Kumba. Bulk exports out of Saldanha, which are mostly iron ore, soared by 24.3% in July.