[PARIS] After five years of constant rises, world steel production dropped 2.8 per cent last year to 1.62 billion tons, with China now producing just under half of the total, the World Steel Association said Monday.
China, easily the world's largest consumer and producer, last year produced 803.8 million metric tons (Mt), down 2.3 per cent on 2014, though its actual share of world ouput rose 0.2 per centage points to 49.5 per cent.
"Crude steel production decreased in all regions except Oceania in 2015." the WSA said following the first overall annual drop since 2009, when overall output stood at 1.24 billion tons.
Last October, the WSA had initially forecast a 1.7 per cent rise in world demand for 2015, followed by a 0.7 per cent rise this year.
Its next forecasts are due in April. The association estimates it represents some 85 per cent of world production.
Japan, the world's second largest producer, saw 2015 output slide five per cent to 105.2 Mt.
Indian production rose 2.3 per cent to 83.2 Mt, propelling it to number three globally while South Korea fell back 2.6 per cent to 69.7 Mt.
Asia overall saw production fall 2.3 per cent to 1.11 billion tons.
Last year saw EU states produce 166.2 Mt of crude steel, a decrease of 1.8 per cent on 2014. Germany dipped just 0.6 per cent - number five producer Russia, a non-EU member, likewise fell just 0.5 per cent, to 71/1 Mt - but Italy and France slumped seven per cent.
Spain, however, produced 14.9 Mt in 2015, an increase of 4.4 per cent.
North American production came in 8.6 per cent lower at 110.7 Mt, with fourth largest producer, the United States, seeing production dropping 10.5 per cent to 78.9 Mt.
Leading South American economy Brazil saw production off 1.9 per cent to 33.2 Mt.
The overall world steel cacacity utilisation ratio fell to 69.7 per cent from 73.4 in 2014.