In 2013, global production increased to more than 103 million metric tons, an increase of 3.4% when compared to the previous year, according to this year’s Modern Casting Census of World Casting Production. The 103.2 million metric tons of metal castings produced in 2013 represents an increase of 3.43 million tons. This rate of growth is a slight bump up from 2012’s 2.4% boost.
Of the 31 countries that provided data for the past two years, 18 reported a contraction in annual volumes when comparing 2013 to 2012. Poland increased its production by 18%, with gains across the board in terms of alloys. On the red side of the ledger, Pakistan saw the largest decline in production, with its metalcasting industry contracting by 23.2%. Among the top-10 countries in total output, Brazil had the highest boost in 2013 with an increase of 6.9% in production. The rebound came a year after South America’s only entry in the global survey saw a 16.9% decrease in total production.
China increased its total production by two million metric tons to a total of 44.5 million. That boost represents a large majority of the overall increase in global production, meaning China continued to increase its share of the global market. Meanwhile, the U.S., the world’s second largest producer, saw its tonnage increase by 3.9% to 12.25 million metric tons. While the top two producing nations saw increases, other top metalcasting countries had production headed south in 2013. France, Germany and Russia reported 3% to 5% decreases.
India remained No. 3 in total production at 9.81 million tons. Spots 4 through 10 remained unchanged, with Japan producing 5.54 million metric tons, Germany 5.19 million, Russia 4.1 million, Brazil 3.07 million, Korea 2.56 million, Italy 1.97 million and France 1.75 million. The top-10 nations produced 88% of the world’s castings, a figure that remains unchanged from 2012.
The U.S. saw a 4.4% increase in its productivity per site, with its 2,001 metalcasting facilities averaging 6,122 metric tons. Germany, the world leader in per plant production at 8,659, experienced a negligible increase of 41 metric tons per plant.
China and India, the two countries with the greatest number of facilities, reported gains of 4.73% and 2.7%. Productivity is calculated as total tonnage divided by the number of plants reported.
Total production of iron increased, with gray iron growing 4.6%, and ductile iron expanding by 1.3%, while malleable iron fell 27.1%. Steel output dropped by 0.1%, while aluminium production jumped by 9.9%.
The data reported in the 48th Census of World Casting Production is supplied by each nation’s metalcasting association or similar representatives. Countries that did not participate this year were Denmark, Mexico, Serbia, Slovakia and South Africa. These countries remain listed according to the last year they participated. Mongolia, which has not submitted data since 2009, has been removed from the list. Thailand returned to the census after an extended absence, reporting 316,400 metric tons.
Mexico, Ukraine and Turkey remain just outside the top-10 countries in total production. Depending on economic conditions in the next few years, however, the three countries could threaten to unseat one or more of the more established metalcasting countries like France and Italy.
Ups and downs across the globe
Global casting production grew in 2013, but other than the large gains in China, total tonnage increased by less than a half-million metric tons. After an impressive 15.1% boost in total production in 2012, the U.S. market increased at a more modest pace. While the global economy continues to steady itself in the years after the recession, economic volatility meant big losses and gains for certain countries. Smaller producers were more likely to experience losses or gains in the double digits, while the majority of the world’s largest producers reported only steady growth or slight contraction. The countries in the top 10 reported a total growth rate of 1.9%, which could be seen as a sign that the bulk of worldwide volatility is found in smaller markets.