Total steel demand in the six ASEAN member countries of SEAISI dropped by 5.3% y-o-y to 32.2 million tonnes in the first half of 2014. This was due to the declines of steel demand in Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and Malaysia. Amidst the slowdown in steel demand in many countries in the region, Indonesia and Philippines still managed to enjoy positive growth rates in steel consumption in the same period of 2014.
Singapore registered the highest rate of drop in steel demand in the region at 24.9% y-o-y, to 1.6 million tonnes in the first half of 2014, followed by Thailand which saw its steel demand dropping 15.1% y-o-y to 8.2 million tonnes in the same period. Malaysia’s steel consumption dropped moderately from 4.9 million tonnes to 4.7 million tonnes in the same period. Vietnam’s steel demand dropped by 2% y-o-y to 6.4 million tonnes. In absolute term, Thailand registered the highest drop in steel demand, almost 1.5 million tonnes.
Singapore’s steel demand for both flat steel and long steel registered declines of 29% y-o-y and 16% y-o-y, respectively. However, NatSteel Holdings, the solely steel producer in the country, boosted its production after the temporary shutdown in previous year for upgrading work, registering a significant increase of 41% y-o-y. Total steel import dropped significantly by 19% y-o-y.
Thailand’s steel demand, which shrank by 1.5 million tonnes in the first half of 2014 comapred to the same period of 2013, has significant impact on the decline of steel demand in the region. Both flat steel and long steel demand registered declines of 17% y-o-y and 11% y-o-y, respectively. Total steel import in the country declined by 16% y-o-y in the same period of 2014.
The decline in Malaysia’s steel demand of 4% y-o-y was largely due to the drop of 22% y-o-y in flat steel demand. Demand for long steel rose 10% y-o-y. However, domestic producers for long steel did not benefit from the growth in domestic demand and saw little change in production volume. Import of long steel, on the other hand, rose substantially, by 24% y-o-y in the same period.
Vietnam’s flat steel demand showed a significant decline of 13% y-o-y to 3 million tonnes in the first half of 2014. Meanwhile, demand for long steel rose by 11% y-o-y to 3.4 million tonnes in the same period. Production for long steel picked up moderately by 5% y-o-y and import surged robustly by 29% y-o-y. Vietnam’s long steel export also registered an increase of 8% y-o-y.
Philippines’ steel demand continued to surge, with demand in the first half of 2014 increasing at a rate of 7.3% y-o-y. Long product demand increased moderately by 4% y-o-y while demand for flat products surged robustly by 17% y-o-y in the first half of 2014.
Indonesia’s steel demand registered a positive growth rate of 3.7% y-o-y. This was mainly the result of a significant increase in long product consumption, at 11% y-o-y while demand for flat products slowed down by 2% y-o-y. Domestic steel production in Indonesia in the first half of 2014 surged robustly. Flat production increased 60% y-o-y to 2.3 million tonnes while long production picked up by 12% y-o-y to 2.2 million tonnes.