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Crude Steel Production ; Trade in Steel

The drive to industrialisation in Asia has made it the region with the world’s highest steel production and demand. ISSB holds trade data at 6 digit HS tariff level for the dominant Asian steel nations: China, Japan, India, South Korea, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore, whom together produce 99.5% of the region’s steel. Additionally, with export coverage of 97% of steel production globally, ISSB is ideally placed to assess the market for steel in those Asian countries for which national trade data is not readily available, such as Vietnam and Pakistan.

Crude Steel Production

Asian steel output is dominated by the development of Chinese steel production and it is the only major region not to suffer a decline during the economic downturn of 2008 and 2009. China accounted for just 39% of Asia’s crude steel production in 2000 which has now risen to 72% as Chinese production increased more than five-fold between 2000 and 2013. Indian production has also grown fast, from 27 million tonnes in 2000 to 81 million tonnes in 2013.  In 2000, Asia as a whole accounted for 39% of global crude steel production with China accounting for 15%. By 2013 China accounted for 48% of the global total on its own with Asia as a whole accounting for 67%.

Below we summarise World Steel Association crude steel production data for Asia.

Asia Annual Crude Steel Production, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Other

Trade in Steel

Asia contains some of the world’s largest steel exporting and importing nations. 
Chinese steel exports have dominated headlines in recent years, not just because of the total tonnages being exported, but also due to their volatility. With Chinese production levels so high, even small changes in the proportion going to the domestic market can create export surges with serious implications for markets elsewhere. 2010 saw exports rise by 79% while imports fell by 24%, resulting in a net export of 22 million tonnes for the year. 2011 saw exports rise by a further 15% with imports again down by 5%, resulting in net exports climbing to 28 million tonnes.  This trend continued in 2012 and 2013 with Chinese exports last year, particularly in the latter half, showing a sustained increase, above 4 million tonnes per month, with December finishing the year at 5 million tonnes.

China Monthly Trade in Steel

Compared to China, Japanese steel exports tend to be much steadier over time. With exports in 2009 down just 11% Japan became, once again, the world largest steel exporter which is a position it retained in 2010. 2011 saw exports fade by 5% dropping Japan to second largest steel exporter after China.  In 2012, exports increased by just 2% to leave Japan remaining as the 2nd largest exporter in the world.

Japan Monthly Trade in Steel

Before the world economic downturn, South Korea was a net importer of steel. Apart from brief periods in 2009, 2010 and 2011, the trend now is for the country to be a net steel exporter.

2010 saw both imports and exports increase by 22% leaving South Korea as the world’s 2nd largest steel importer and 6th largest exporter. 2011 saw further change with exports up by 17% and imports down 8% South Korea was the world’s 4th largest steel exporter and 3rd largest steel importer.  The trend continued into 2012 with exports increasing by 5% and imports falling by 11%. During much of 2013, exports fell from their recent highs but towards the latter part of the year, they recovered to leave December on 2.5 million tonnes.

South Korea Monthly Trade in Steel

In addition to China, Japan and South Korea ISSB holds national trade data from the other major steel producing nations in Asia: India, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, Philippines and Singapore.

Top 10 Asian Steel Exporting Countries, Japan, China, South Korea, Taiwan, India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Hong Kong (Trade), Indonesia

Given our coverage which includes exports by countries producing 99.5% of the steel in Asia and 97% of steel produced globally ISSB are excellently placed to assess the markets for steel in countries, such as Vietnam, where national trade statistics are not readily available.

Top 10 Asian Steel Importing Countries, China, South Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, India, Taiwan, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines

If you want to know more about the exports and imports of steel and steel-making raw materials by countries in Asia please contact  phil.hunt@issb.co.uk or use our  on-line Trade Enquiry System.

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