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INTRODUCTION

Steel production has long been considered one of the key indicators of the manufacturing capacity and self sufficiency of a country. The importance of steel throughout history, including in warfare, has made steel production of great importance to many countries. With the shift to post-industrial economies in many developed countries, the declining steel industries tend to be seen particularly negatively and reviving steel production often becomes a political pledge in such countries. This page looks at steel production in different regions and countries.

"Asia" in the charts do not include the region most commonly known as the middle east, which is shown as "West Asia". The last chart shows the per capita steel production for 10 selected countries.

Charts

1. Steel Production by Region of World 1970 - 2015

2. Steel Production by Region of World 1970 - 2015

3. Share of Steel Production by Region of World 1970 - 2015

4. Steel Production Per Capita for Selected Countries 1970 - 2015

Data Tables

5. Steel Production in 1,000 Metric Tons by Region of World 1970 - 2015

Total steel production has risen rapidly in the 20th century, overwhelmingly driven by East Asian production. Global steel production has become concentrated in East Asia, especially China. Other developing regions, Latin America and West Asia, have also seen significant increases. Africa has not seen the same kind of increase in steel production of other developing regions. The developed regions have seen decreases in steel production as they have replace domestic production with imported steel. The decline of the steel industry in the west has become an issue that is commonly discussed in elections, particularly in the USA. The countries of the former Soviet Union seen a dramatic drop in steel production in the 90s, after the breakup of the Soviet Union. This has been reversed to an extent but it's still well below Soviet era production. 

South Korea is by far the biggest per capita steel producer and the 5th largest overall. It's rise has been rapid. It's main steel company is POSCO which in 2010 was the world's largest steel company by market value. The US and the UK have seen significant decreases while Germany and Japan have seen much smaller decreases, maintaining the majority of their production. The largest steel producer in the world, China, has also seen a significant rise. However, it's per capita production is below Japan and well below South Korea. Turkey has also see a significant growth in it's steel industry. India was the 3rd largest steel producer in 2015 but on a per capita basis, it remains very low. In 1970, India and South Korea had a similar level of per capita steel production. In 2015, South Korea had over 19 times the per capita steel production. India has not rapidly industrialized the way many East Asian countries have.

DATA TABLE

5. Steel Production in 1,000 Metric Tons by Region of World 1970 - 2015

Year
Western Europe
Eastern Europe
USSR
North America
Latin America
Africa
West Asia
Asia
Oceania
Total
1970
163,382
36,885
115,886
130,507
13,181
5,332
1,851
121,410
6,996
595,430
1975
156,540
47,734
141,325
118,841
18,585
7,802
2,884
143,666
8,054
645,431
1980
162,483
57,553
147,931
117,357
29,204
11,503
3,762
177,969
7,819
715,581
1985
157,437
56,029
154,653
94,705
36,219
12,243
7,539
193,242
6,836
718,903
1990
155,460
47,165
154,436
102,007
38,725
13,298
13,507
238,466
7,395
770,459
1995
157,044
32,838
79,085
109,606
47,754
13,690
21,315
279,599
9,302
750,233
2000
165,037
31,039
98,987
118,398
56,064
13,827
25,105
333,154
7,832
849,443
2005
166,975
32,612
113,894
110,224
62,723
17,950
36,222
595,533
8,646
1,144,779
2010
149,513
27,905
108,855
93,504
61,946
16,624
49,143
918,449
8,149
1,434,088
2015
142,862
27,514
101,552
91,318
63,518
13,701
60,946
1,112,873
5,717
1,620,001

Source:

https://www.worldsteel.org/

Charts created using OpenOffice Calc.

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