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ArcelorMittal's 2018 steel production dips to 92.5 mil mt amid lower exports

Singapore — Luxembourg-based ArcelorMittal's 2018 crude steel output dipped 0.6% to 92.5 million mt, amid lower exports, the company said Thursday.

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Exports for 2018 amounted to 83.9 million mt, down 1.6% from 2017, mostly due a to 10.3% fall in shipments from its ACIS (Africa and Commonwealth of Independent States) segment caused by "operational disruptions in Temirtau (Kazakhstan)," the steelmaker added.

Within its ACIS segment, ArcelorMittal expects to complete expansion projects at ArcelorMittal Kryviy Rih in the Ukraine and its Sosnowiec complex in southern Poland in 2019.

The project for the former will allow Kryvyi Rih to switch from ingot to continuous casting and add 290,000 mt/year of billet production capacity. The latter project -- costing Zloty 120 million ($33 million) -- will raise the mill's rod production capacity to 800,000 mt/year from 700,000 mt/year.

Looking forward, ArcelorMittal expects global steel demand to increase slightly in 2019 as compared to 2018. Steel shipments are expected to increase, supported by improved operational performance, the company said.

"We did not perform at an optimum level operationally in 2018 and will seek to minimize operational disruption this year to ensure we meet our volume targets," CEO and Chairman Lakshmi Mittal said.

"Volume is a key component of Action 2020 (5 million-mt volume improvement) and we expect to see more progress in this area in 2019 and beyond, assuming market conditions remain favorable," the steelmaker said.

Based on the current economic outlook, ArcelorMittal expects global ASC (apparent steel consumption) to edge up 0.5%-1% in 2019, compared with growth of 2.8% in 2018.

In China, overall ASC is expected to decline by 0.5%-1.5% in 2019, as relatively stable demand from the automotive and construction industries is offset by declining machinery output, it said.

ArcelorMittal added that overall, world ex-China apparent steel consumption is expected to grow by about 2.0% to 3.0% in 2019, slight stronger than in 2018, due to "stabilization in Turkey after a significant decline in 2018."

-- Clement Choo,

-- Edited by Shashwat Pradhan,