Crude Steel Production
UK crude steel production plummeted to 7.3 million tonnes in 2016 reflecting the full year effect of the closure of the SSI plant at Teesside. Output continued to reduce in 2017 and again in 2018 as a result of cutbacks at other steel producing facilities. Within the overall production figure, steel produced by Electric Arc Furnace appears to have bottomed at 1.5 million tonnes with 2018 registering growth of 7%.
UK steel demand softened in 2018 by 2%. Demand from the Construction sector was flat but demand from the automotive sector fell by 9%. The quarterly trend reveals that the year started badly for both sectors but whilst Construction activity recovered as the year progressed, Automotive activity continued to deteriorate.
Trade in Steel
UK exports of steel products have plummeted since the peak in 2014. The closure of the SSI plant at Teesside was by far the main contributor to this decline as almost all production (of semis) was exported. Despite the favourable exchange rates evident since the BREXIT referendum, export activity has not increased. Despite weak Sterling import levels have continued to creep upwards.
The geographical split of UK steel exports and imports over 2017 and 2018 is shown below.