The latest April 2023 crude steel production data from the World Steel Association had global output across 63 reporting countries at 161.4 million tonnes, down 2.4% compared to April 2022. This was partly down to a drop in Chinese output, down 1.5% year-on-year. There were notable year-on-year falls once again in Europe (inside and outside the EU) plus Japan (-3.1%), US (-5.3%), Brazil (-5.9%), and Turkey (-20.6%), the latter due to the lingering impact of the two massive earthquakes in February.
China’s average daily coal production fell to 12.72 million tonnes in April from March’s record 13.46 million tonnes. Bad weather and maintenance work on the major coal transport railway from Datong to the port of Qinhuangdao impacted coal production. Nevertheless, output in the first four months of 2023 was still up 4.8% year-on-year.
The International Aluminium Institute reported that global primary aluminium production rose 0.3% year-on-year in April to total 5.628 million tonnes, with just under 56% produced in China. The IAI also reported that world alumina production in the first four months of 2023 totalled 44.607 million tonnes down just over 1% year-on-year.
The US Department of Agriculture’s May forecast updates saw an uptick in 2022/23 grain export trade after recent monthly markdowns. Looking across 2022/23 export trade forecasts of the principal commodities (wheat, coarse grains, rice, soyabeans, and soyabean meal), net changes saw an overall trade increase of 3.9 million tonnes, a rise of 0.55%. However, the main interest was the release of the USDA’s first estimates for the 2023/24 season. A comparison of the export trade of the principal commodities between 2023/24 and the latest 2022/23 estimates showed overall trade rising to just under 743 million tonnes, an increase of 22.7 million tonnes or 3.2%. This total is also up 6.0% when compared to the average of the previous five seasons.