Global crude steel production totalled 949.4 million tonnes in January-June 2022 for a decline of 5.5 per cent compared to the same period in 2021, according to Worldsteel Association. Data show a decrease in crude steel production in all regions of the world.
Despite a drop of 4.9 per cent to 698.250 million tonnes, Asia remained the world’s largest crude steel producer. Regionally speaking, the lowest crude steel production was recorded by Oceania with a year-on-year dip of 1.8 per cent to 3.146 million tonnes.
China’s steel scrap usage down by 13.8 per cent
In all key countries and regions, steel scrap usage and crude steel production were lower year on year in the first six months of 2022.
According to statistics, China’s steel scrap consumption fell by 13.8 per cent in the first half of this year to 119.55 million tonnes - in percentage terms, more than double the decline seen in the country’s crude steel production over the same period (-6.5 per cent to 526.9 million tonnes). With its share of global crude steel production running at 55.5 per cent, China remained the world’s largest steel scrap user.
The second-largest steel scrap user globally was the EU-27 (-3.2 per cent to an estimated 43.856 million tonnes versus a 6.2 per cent decline in its crude steel production to 73.758 million tonnes). The USA was the third-largest steel scrap user (-3 per cent to 22.5 million tonnes versus a 2.2 per cent drop in crude steel production to 41.147 million tonnes).
Steel scrap usage as a percentage of crude steel production was very high in Turkey (87.1per cent) and very low in China (22.7per cent), although the latter will increase its scrap usage.
Among key countries and regions, there was a decrease in steel scrap usage of 8.4 per cent to 248.789 million tonnes in the first half of 2022, while related crude steel production was down 6.1 per cent at 777.235 million tonnes. The steel scrap usage figure represents verified data for 81.9 per cent of global crude steel production.
Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases fall
The opening six months of 2022 brought a 3 per cent decrease in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases to 12.480 million tonnes, although the country remained the world’s foremost steel scrap importer. Its main suppliers were the USA (+25.7 per cent to 2.232 million tonnes), the Netherlands (-33.3 per cent to 1.163 million tonnes) and the UK (-17.6 per cent to 1.135 million tonnes).
The Republic of Korea was the world’s second-largest steel scrap importer in the first half of 2022 (+29.1 per cent to 2.722 million tonnes), with its main suppliers being Japan (+17.8 per cent to 1.703 million tonnes), the USA (+48.3 per cent to 0.399 million tonnes) and Russia (+5.6 per cent to 0.226 million tonnes).
The third-largest steel scrap importer in the first six months of 2022 was India (+0.3% to 2.673 million tonnes). Its main suppliers were the United Arab Emirates (+3.5 per cent to 0.711 million tonnes), the USA (-11.9 per cent to 0.208 million tonnes) and Singapore (-11.9 per cent to 0.170 million tonnes)
In January-June 2022, steel scrap imports increased into Thailand, Indonesia and Norway. By contrast, import declines were posted for the first half of 2022 by the USA, the EU-27 and Taiwan.
Figures for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam were not available ahead of our editorial deadline.
The USA regains position as world’s leading steel scrap exporter
Having lost top spot in 2014, the USA regained its position as the world’s leading steel scrap exporter in the first half of 2022 despite a 5.6 per cent year-on-year decline in shipped volumes to 8.874 million tonnes. Leading buyers to increase their purchases from the USA were Mexico (+21.4 per cent to 2.005 million tonnes), Turkey (+23.4 per cent to 1.969 million tonnes), Bangladesh (+44.7 per cent to 0.900 million tonnes) and the Republic of Korea (+34.7 per cent to 0.357 million tonnes).
For the EU-27, the world’s second-largest steel scrap exporter, the opening half of this year brought a sharp decline (-23.9 per cent to 8.515 million tonnes); its main buyers were Turkey (-23.8 per cent to 5.805 million tonnes), Egypt (-39.8 per cent to 0.625 million tonnes) and Switzerland (-9.4 per cent to 0.318 million tonnes). The EU-27’s largest steel scrap exporter in the first half of 2022 was the Netherlands (-35.8 per cent to 1.822 million tonnes). Over the same period, EU-27 internal steel scrap exports totalled 14.385 million tonnes for a year-on-year drop of 7.3 per cent
The world’s third-largest steel scrap exporter in the first half of 2022 was the UK (-0.8 per cent to 4.104 million tonnes), with its main buyers being Turkey (-25.9 per cent to 1.053 million tonnes), Egypt (+21.9 per cent to 0.856 million tonnes) and Bangladesh (+87.6 per cent to 0.529 million tonnes).
Increases in exports were recorded in the first six months of 2022 by Canada, Singapore, Norway, Malaysia and Brazil. Conversely, export declines were recorded by Japan and Australia.
Regarding global steel scrap markets, export prices to Turkey from the USA and the EU-27 followed the same course in the first half of 2022.