Steel consumption in ASEAN-6 expanded strongly in 2016, compared with much of the rest of the world. According to data from the newly released 2017 SEAISI Steel Statistical Yearbook, total apparent steel consumption in the six ASEAN member countries of SEAISI i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam surged 11.4% year-on-year to reach 76.98 million tonnes in 2016. In the same year, global steel consumption growth was a low 0.97%. In Asia, China’s steel consumption growth rate was only 1.3%, India 4.1%, South Korea 2.3% while Japan registered a negative growth rate of 1.3%.
Vietnam, the biggest steel consuming country in ASEAN, continued to lead the region in steel consumption growth in 2016, registering a third consecutive annual growth rate of more than 20%. Vietnam’s total steel demand in the year was 22.33 million tonnes, up 22.3% year-on-year. In 2014 and 2015, Vietnam’s steel consumption growth rates were 22.7% and 26.4% respectively.
After two consecutive years of decline in steel demand, Thailand’s steel consumption rebounded strongly in 2016, registering a year-on-year growth rate of 15.1%. Thailand’s total steel consumption volume of 19.21 million tonnes in 2016 has surpassed the previous high of 17.60 million tonnes, recorded in 2013.
Indonesia also saw a turnaround in steel demand in 2016, after experiencing a sharp 11.8% year-on-year contraction in 2015. Total apparent steel consumption increased from 11.37 million tonnes in 2015 to 12.67 million tonnes in 2016, a surge of 11.4% year-on-year.
Malaysia registered a small year-on-year rise of 2.5% in steel consumption in 2016. Total steel demand for the year was 10.25 million tonnes, up from 10 million tonnes in the previous year.
Philippines’ steel demand started to pick up rapidly in 2010 and the country has been experiencing strong year-on-year consumption growth rates since then. In 2016, the country’s steel demand jumped 10.5% year-on-year to reach 9.68 million tonnes.
Singapore was the only country in the region that saw its steel consumption retreated in 2016. Total steel demand in the country slumped from 4.01 million tonnes in 2015 to 2.83 million tonnes in 2016, a sharp drop of 29.5% year-on-year.
Crude steel production in ASEAN-6 picked up moderately in 2016, after dipping 4.4% year-on-year in 2015. Total production volume in 2016 was 20.74 million tonnes, up from 19.46 million tonnes in 2015, a rise of 6.6% year-on-year. Production of hot-rolled steel products also increased from 28.59 million tonnes in 2015 to 31.87 million tonnes in 2016, a jump of 11.5% year-on-year.
Imports continued to flood the ASEAN-6 market. In 2016, a total of 69.5 million tonnes of iron and steel products, including semis, were imported into the region, up 8.4% year-on year. Again, China was the largest source, accounting for about 53% of the total imports.
Import volume of semi-finished products reached another record high in 2016, surging 23% year-on-year to 15.8 million tonnes. Import of billet totalled 8.6 million tonnes, bloom 4.1 million tonnes while slab import was almost 3 million tonnes.
For finished steel products, the biggest import items in 2016 remained plates, hot-rolled sheets and strips which totalled 22.7 million tonnes, a big increase of 18.2% from the previous year.
Import of sections, bars and wire rods, the next biggest import items, dipped slightly in 2016, with total volume of 13.3 million tonnes, down 3.6% year-on-year.
Other major import items in 2016 were coated sheets (8.5 million tonnes), cold rolled products (5.6 million tonnes) and pipes & tubes (2.2 million tonnes).
All the six ASEAN countries, except Singapore, saw their import volumes increased in 2016. Vietnam remained the biggest steel importer in the region with total import volume of 18.3 million tonnes in 2016, up 10.9% year-on-year. But it was Thailand that saw the biggest surge in steel import volume. Thailand’s import of iron and steel products totalled 18.2 million tonnes in 2016, a sharp increase of 20.5% over the preceding year. On the other hand, Singapore’s import of steel products dropped from 5.3 million tonnes in 2015 to 4.2 million tonnes in 2016, a significant dip of 20.7% year-on-year.
The six ASEAN countries together exported a total of 12.5 million tones of iron and steel products in 2016, a moderate rise of 7.7% over 2015. Vietnam, with an export volume of 4.2 million tonnes, was the largest steel exporting country, followed by Indonesia (2.6 million tonnes), Malaysia (2.3 million tonnes), Singapore (1.9 million tonnes) and Thailand (1.5 million tonnes). Philippines’ export volume in 2016 was only 100,000 tonnes, all pipes and tubes.
For comprehensive information on the production, consumption and trade statistics of the steel industry in ASEAN-6 as well as Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan, get hold of a copy of the 2017 SEAISI Steel Statistical Yearbook.
TAN AH YONG