Quarterly Report – July 2020

January-March 2020 update

According to worldsteel, world crude steel production totalled 443 million tonnes in the first three months of 2020, down 1.4% from the same period in 2019.

Data in the corresponding table show year-on-year crude steel production increases for China (+1.2% to 234.450 million tonnes), Russia (+3.1% to 18.60 million tonnes) and Turkey (+9.6% to 8.975 million tonnes). Conversely, production declines were registered by the EU-28 (-10% to 38.292 million tonnes), the USA (-1% to 21.946 million tonnes), Japan (-2.4% to 24.360 million tonnes) and the Republic of Korea (-4.8% to 16.963 million tonnes).

China reduces steel scrap usage by 8.9%

In the first three months of 2020, there was an 8.9% drop in China’s steel scrap usage for crude steel production to 41.53 million tonnes, as compared to 45.60 million tonnes for the same period in 2019. Nevertheless, China remained the world’s largest steel scrap user during the period under review.

First-quarter steel scrap usage for crude steel production also dropped in the EU-28 (-5.6% to 21.696 million tonnes), the USA (-2.5% to 11.7 million tonnes), Japan (-12.5% to 7.806 million tonnes), Russia (-1.9% to 7.530 million tonnes) and the Republic of Korea (-8.3% to 6.734 million tonnes). However, Turkey reported a steel scrap usage leap of 13.4% to 7.406 million tonnes; the increase was sharper than the country’s crude steel production gain of 9.6% and resulted from a steep upturn in scrap-intensive electric furnace production (+14.6% to 6.071 million tonnes).

The table illustrates the emerging negative influence of the Coronavirus pandemic, although the decline is expected to have been even harsher in the second quarter.

Strong increase in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases

The first three months of 2020 brought a strong 35.7% year-on-year upturn in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases to 5.282 million tonnes; indeed, these data for the first quarter confirm Turkey’s position as the world’s foremost steel scrap importer. Also higher over the same period was Mexico’s steel scrap import total (+28% to 0.498 million tonnes). Conversely, import declines were recorded by the Republic of Korea (-32.8% to 1.283 million tonnes), the USA (-6.1% to 1.084 million tonnes), Malaysia (-11.9% to 0.312 million tonnes), Canada (-32.5% to 0.251 million tonnes) and Russia (-31.8% to 0.123 million tonnes).

The EU28’s overseas steel scrap purchases were unchanged in the first quarter of 2020 on 0.723 million tonnes. Data for India, the second-biggest steel scrap importer, were not available at the time of writing.

EU-28 continues as leading steel scrap exporter

The EU-28 remained the world’s leading steel scrap exporter in upping its outbound shipments in the first three months of 2020 by 10.1% to 5.888 million tonnes. There were increases in its overseas shipments to Turkey (+17.9% to 3.576 million tonnes), Egypt (+44.9% to 0.552 million tonnes), Pakistan (+38.6% to 0.442 million tonnes), the USA (+3% to 0.174 million tonnes) and Switzerland (+15.7% to 0.100 million tonnes). Conversely, a drop was recorded in EU-28 deliveries to India (-18.4% to 0.446 million tonnes).

The first three months of 2020 also brought an upturn in US overseas steel scrap shipments (+22% to 4.401 million tonnes), with higher exports to Turkey (+22.3% to 1.009 million tonnes), Malaysia (+200.4% to 0.679 million tonnes), Mexico (+77% to 0.538 million tonnes), India (+18.9% to 0.239 million tonnes) and Bangladesh (+51.7% to 0.223 million tonnes). In contrast, lower US scrap deliveries were recorded to Taiwan (-1.9% to 0.411 million tonnes) and to Canada (-29.3% to 0.220 million tonnes).

There were first-quarter upturns in steel scrap exports from Japan (+36.2% to 2.411 million tonnes), Russia (+29.8% to 1.097 million tonnes) and Canada (+2.4% to 1.051 million tonnes). However, exports were lower from Australia (-3.8% to 0.479 million tonnes) and from Hong Kong (-91.3% to 0.022 million tonnes).

I would like to offer my special thanks to Daniela Entzian, the BIR Ferrous Division’s Deputy Statistics Advisor, for her excellent co-operation in compiling these statistics.

Rolf Willeke - Rolf Willeke (World Steel Recycling in Figures)

Rolf Willeke

Statistics Advisor of the BIR Ferrous Division

World Steel Recycling in Figures
Quarterly Report – July 2020