Iranian steel mills produced 11.52 million tons of steel from January to July 2017, registering a 14.1% growth compared with last year’s corresponding period, the latest report released by World Steel Association shows.
The report noted that Iran’s crude steel output in July stood at 1.57 million tons, indicating a 16.5% rise compared with last year’s corresponding period. This is the second fastest growth among all producers of more than 1 million tons per month, after Turkey with 27.8% growth in July. Considering all producers regardless of output, Iran is ranked 10th in term of fastest growth.
Iran produced 10.41 million tons of direct-reduced iron during the seven months, up 13.6% YOY, to remain the world’s largest producer of DRI. The July output was up 26.6% to 1.585 million tons. Iran’s closest rival, India, lagged behind as its July output grew by 0.4% to 1.23 million tons.
DRI, also called sponge iron, is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore to iron by a reducing gas made from natural gas or coal. It is most commonly made into steel using electric arc furnaces. About 70-75% of Iranian mills use EAFs.
Global steelmakers produced 977.32 million tons of crude steel during the seven months, up 4.6% YOY.
World crude steel output stood at 143.24 million tons in July, indicating a 6.3% increase YOY. It grew 1.35% compared to June.
WSA members account for about 85% of the world’s steel production, including over 160 steel producers with nine of the 10 largest steel companies, national and regional steel industry associations, and steel research institutes.
The global upward trend in output this year continued robustly in July, as most steelmakers recorded higher outputs compared to June.
Furthermore, the crude steel capacity utilization ratio of the 67 countries in July 2017 was 72.1%. This is 3.2% higher than July 2016. Compared to June 2017, it is 1.5% lower.
China’s steel production hit 74.02 million tons in July, registering a 5.1% increase YOY. The steel goliath’s output is still growing, albeit at a slightly lower rate compared to June and May.
China remained the world’s largest producer in the seven-month period with 491.553 million tons of steel output. It was followed by Japan with 60.91 million tons, India with 58.01 million tons, the United States with 47.74 million tons, Russia with 40.92 million tons, South Korea with 40.86 million tons, Germany with 25.73 million tons, Turkey with 21.55 million tons, Brazil with 19.555 million tons, Italy with 14.47 million tons, Taiwan with 13.55 million tons and Ukraine with 12.31 million tons.
Iran remained the world’s 14th largest steelmaker, as it was placed between Mexico (13th) with an 11.77-million-ton output and France (15th) with 9.06 million tons.
Iran’s crude steel output stood at 17.89 million tons in 2016, according to WSA data. The country aims to become the world’s sixth largest steel producer as per the so-called 20-Year Vision Plan (2005-25), which envisions the annual production of 55 million tons of crude steel and 20-25 million tons of exports per year by the deadline.
According to former minister of industries, mining and trade, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh, Iranian steel mills have so far materialized about 60% of the capacity target.
The main challenges so far have been maintaining a steady capacity-making growth, balancing raw material supply and boosting the pace of production and steel usage compared to capacity-making.