Steel Production by Country 2022

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Steel is a metal, an alloy of 97.9-99.998% iron and 2.1-0.002% carbon to be specific, that is one of the world's most versatile and vital materials. Strong, inexpensive to manufacture, and 98% recyclable, steel is virtually ubiquitous in the modern world, used to construct buildings, automobiles, trains (and tracks), appliances, weapons, boats, bridges, and millions of additional items. Different varieties of steel can be created through the addition of materials such as boron, chromium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, silicon, tungsten, or vanadium during the production process. For example, the addition of chromium results in stainless steel.

While steel is used extensively all over the world, only 64 of the world's 193+ countries manufacture steel in any significant quantity. These 64 countries produced 98% of the world's steel in 2020. Unlike many industries, steel production weathered the COVID-19 pandemic relatively well, with year-on-year production falling less than 1% in 2020. Global steel production reached 1,950.5 million tonnes (Mt) in 2021, an increase of 3.7% from the previous total of 1,880.4 Mt in 2020.

Top 10 Steel-Producing Countries in the World — million tons (Mt) in 2021:

  1. China — 1,032.8
  2. India — 118.1
  3. Japan — 96.3
  4. United States — 86.0
  5. Russia — 76.0 (estimated)
  6. South Korea — 70.6
  7. Turkey — 40.4
  8. Germany — 40.1
  9. Brazil — 36.0
  10. Iran — 28.5 (estimated)

Steel production and its impact upon the environment

According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, steel production is one of the world's most energy-intensive and carbon-rich industries. In 2020, the production of steel was responsible for approximately 7% of all global carbon dioxide emissions. Carbon dioxide is the most common greenhouse gas in the Earth's atmosphere and a major contributor to global warming.

As a result, many countries are actively pursuing greener manufacturing techniques and/or seeking to reduce their reliance upon and/or production of steel.

The top 6 countries that produce the most steel

China

In 1990, China was only the fourth-largest steel producer in the world, trailing Japan, the United States, and the USSR. Today, China is far and away the global leader in steel production, with an output higher than that of the rest of the world combined.

With a plethora of massive, state-owned steel companies at its disposal, China has approximately 10 times the steel manufacturing capacity of the United States. However, even the most modern steel-manufacturing techniques release substantial amounts of greenhouse gases and other air pollutants, which works against China's goal to become carbon-neutral by 2060. As a result, China has attempted to minimize pollution by cutting down on steel production—2021's total output is actually lower than 2020's—however, steel production plays a significant role in the Chinese economy, so it is unclear to what degree China can afford to reduce its steel output.

India

India surpassed Japan to become the second-largest producer of steel in the world in 2019, and continues to expand the capacity, efficiency, and modernization of its steel industry. India’s Union Minister Dharmendra Pradhan states that there is no set annual goal for steel production and that individual companies decide on the quantity of steel that needs to be produced based on commercial considerations and market requirements. The government remains engaged, however, and the Indian Ministry of Steel updates the National Steel Policy every year to reflect the latest developments in topics such as the steel supply chain, market demand, international competition.

Japan

Like many developed countries, Japan is working to achieve carbon neutrality—or to even become a carbon-negative country. This has led to a deliberate downsizing of Japan's steel industry, which is a significant source of air pollution. Additionally, while Chinese steel was once considered inferior to Japanese steel, the gap has now narrowed considerably, enabling China to be more competitive in the export market. Domestically, Japan's construction sector has the highest demand for steel, followed by the industrial machinery and automobile industries. Demand in the shipbuilding industry has historically been lower, but has gradually increased in recent years.

United States

Although "only" fourth in the world in terms of size, the U.S. steel industry is more environmentally friendly and technologically innovative than many other large competitors. As a result, steel manufacturers in the United States release up to 320% less carbon per ton of steel produced than do manufacturers in most other countries—particularly China, India, and Russia. More than 60% of steel currently produced in the United States recycles scrap metal for use as source material instead of raw ore.

Russia

Russia possesses the third-largest iron ore reserves in the world, behind only Australia and Brazil, and is one of the world's leading exporters of both iron ore and steel. Steel production in Russia has decreased since the dissolution of the Soviet Union, but this can largely be attributed to the fact that some of the Soviet Union's most prolific steel producing regions are separate countries now, such as Ukraine.

How Russia's invasion of Ukraine impacts the steel industry

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February of 2022—and the heavy sanctions levied against Russia by the international community as a result—upended the global steel production chain. The world's third- and eighth-largest exporters of steel, Russia and Ukraine exported a combined 43.8 million metric tons of steel in 2020—a total exceeded only by China (51.4 Mt). However, the invasion effectively removed both Russia and Ukraine from the global steel export market.

This sudden shift sent steel prices skyrocketing as supply lines shrank and shortages loomed. It remains to be seen how long it will take for prices to return to the levels seen before the invasion—not to mention before the 2020 pandemic, which had already created significant shortages even before the invasion. However, given the extent of damage in the Ukraine and the severity of the sanctions against Russia, the recovery is expected to take quite some time.

South Korea

Along with electronics, telecommunications, chemicals, and automobiles, steel is among one of the largest industries in South Korea, and has played a significant role in the nation’s economic growth. As in many other countries, South Korea’s steel industry is currently focused upon increasing self-sufficiency and incorporating greener production techniques while simultaneously improving manufacturing efficiency.

Steel Production by Country 2022

Note: All data expressed in thousands of tons (i.e.: United States 2021 = 86,000,000 tons). In cases in which official data was unavailable, source has estimated prodution volume.
Country 2021 Production 2020 Production 2019 Production
China1,032,8001,064,700996,342
India118,100100,300111,351
Japan96,30072,70099,284
United States86,00083,20087,761
Russia76,00071,60071,897
South Korea70,60067,10071,412
Turkey40,40035,80033,743
Germany40,10035,70039,627
Brazil36,00031,40032,569
Iran28,50029,00025,609
Italy24,40020,40023,190
Taiwan21,00023,30021,954
Ukraine20,60021,40020,848
Vietnam19,90023,60017,469
Mexico16,80018,40018,387
Indonesia12,90012,5007,783
France11,60013,90014,450
Spain11,00014,00013,588
Canada11,00012,80012,897
Egypt8,20010,3007,257
Poland7,9008,4008,956
Saudi Arabia7,8008,7008,191
United Kingdom7,1007,4007,218
Austria6,8007,9007,424
Malaysia6,6006,5006,820
Netherlands6,1006,6006,657
Belgium6,1007,0007,760
Bangladesh5,5005,5005,100
Australia5,5005,8005,493
Thailand4,5005,6004,246
Sweden4,4004,7004,721
Algeria4,0004,0002,400
South Africa3,9005,0006,152
Kazakhstan3,9004,4004,134
Pakistan3,8005,3003,304
Argentina3,7004,9004,645
Finland3,5004,3003,473
Slovakia3,4004,9003,600
Romania2,8003,4003,448
Nigeria100
Philippines1,9001,915
Kenya20
Myanmar350
Colombia1,333
Morocco500
Uzbekistan666
Peru1,230
Ghana25
Venezuela51
North Korea1,250
Sri Lanka30
Syria5
Chile1,133
Guatemala306
Ecuador607
Tunisia50
Cuba230
Greece1,4001,350
Jordan350
Azerbaijan200
Portugal2,2002,033
United Arab Emirates2,7003,327
Hungary1,5001,769
Belarus2,5002,621
Israel300
Switzerland1,500
Serbia1,5001,929
Paraguay26
Libya606
Bulgaria566
El Salvador102
Singapore766
Norway621
Oman2,0002,000
New Zealand667
Kuwait1,3001,270
Croatia69
Moldova392
Uruguay62
Bosnia And Herzegovina801
Qatar2,558
Slovenia623
Bahrain700
Luxembourg1,9002,119
Montenegro75

Steel Production by Country 2022

Sources