International Steel Statistics Bureau

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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 99.3% 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 increased by 1.6% in 2016. China is the dominant producer and accounted for almost 50% of global output and 72% of the regions output. In 2000 China accounted for only 39% of regional output. In 2015 Chinese crude steel production fell for the first time in recent years but this trend was reversed in 2016 with a reported growth of 1.2%, more than double the growth rate of global non Chinese producers. The Indian steel industry continues to expand and in 2016 achieved a growth of 7.4% to 95.6 million tonnes. Output has grown 3.5 times since 2000.

World Steel Association crude steel production data for Asia is summarised below.

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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.  In 2015 the slow-down in internal demand within China has led to an unprecedented growth in Chinese exports, the impact of which is being felt across the world.  In 2016 Chinese exports fell by over 3% in response to improvements in domestic demand and the erection of trade barriers by other countries.

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Compared to China, Japanese steel exports tend to be much more stable and up to 2010 this country was the largest exporter in the world before being overtaken by China in 2011.   Like China, Japan meets most of its domestic steel requirements with limited imports.

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Prior to the world economic downturn, South Korea was a net importer of steel.  Since 2011, however, the country has changed to being a net exporter.  After a 2% decline in exports in 2015, shipments last year declined again, by the same amount but this level still leaves the country with the status of the third largest exporter in the world behind just China and Japan.  Unlike those other two Asian powerhouses South Korea imported substantial quantities of steel. In 2016 imports increased by 8% maintaining the country’s position as the charges regional importer.


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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.

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Given our coverage which includes exports by countries producing 99% of the steel in Asia and 97% of steel produced globally ISSB is excellently placed to assess the markets for steel in countries, such as Vietnam, where national trade statistics are not readily available.

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