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Chinese steel production grew in May
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Chinese steel production grew in May

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China produced 70.5 million tons of steel in May, a 1.8 percent increase over May 2015, further raising concerns about China’s intentions when it comes to reigning in steel dumping.

The 70.5 million tons of steel produced in China in May is nearly as much as U.S. mills produced in all of 2015.

Steelmakers across the globe produced 139 million tons of steel in May, the most recent month for which data was available, according to the World Steel Association. It was a 0.1 percent decrease compared to May 2015.

The 66 countries that report to the World Steel Association – which tracks about 85 percent of global steel production, including nine of the 10 largest steel companies – had a capacity utilization rate of 71.3 percent, well below the threshold of 90 percent that many analysts consider to be healthy for the industry. Capacity utilization fell 0.1 percent since April and 1 percent since May 2015.

The United States made 6.8 million tons of crude steel in May, a 0.4 percent year-over-year decrease.

Steel production declined in May in Japan, South Korea, Spain, Brazil and France, where it plunged by 18.8 percent compared to May 2015.

Output rose in India, Germany, Italy, Turkey, Russia and Ukraine, where it grew by 5.7 percent year-over-year.

Chinese steelmakers and some steel buyers are battling an attempt by U.S. Steel to get the federal government to block all unfairly subsidized Chinese steel imported into the United States.

The Pittsburgh-based steelmaker, which lost $1.5 billion amid the global import crisis last year, has asked the U.S. International Trade Commission to ban steel imports from China’s largest steelmakers and their distributors. U.S. Steel has accused them of stealing trade secrets, conspiring to fix prices and misrepresenting where steel came from to dodge tariffs.

Chinese steelmakers and steel buyers had urged that the case be thrown out. Pipe and can makers say U.S. steelmakers don’t make the type of metal they need, and Chinese companies argue the ban is too broad.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.

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