ASEAN steel demand registered a healthy growth rate of 8.9% y-o-y in the first half of 2015. This was contributed largely by a significant surge in steel demand in Vietnam, from 6.35 million tonnes in the first half of 2014 to 8.38 million tonnes in the corresponding period of 2015, a huge jump of 32% y-o-y. In the same period, Singapore also registered a strong growth of 37.8% y-o-y in steel demand to 2.2 million tonnes. Philippines’ steel demand also picked up by 8.9% y-o-y to 3.8 million tonnes while Malaysia maintained its modest growth momentum with steel demand increasing 2.6% y-o-y to register 5.1 million tonnes in the same period. Thailand’s steel demand stagnated at 8.3 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. Indonesia was the only country in the region that experienced a decline of 2.6% y-o-y in steel consumption to 7.3 million tonnes.
Despite the continued growth in steel demand in the region, domestic producers were not benefiting from the expansion. Total production of hot rolled steel products declined from 15 million tonnes in the first half of 2014 to 14 million tonnes in the same period of 2015. On the other hand, import rose sharply, by 18.7% y-o-y to 25.8 million tonnes. Export surged moderately by 5.6% y-o-y in the same period.
Steel demand in Vietnam registered a significant growth of 32% y-o-y to 8.3 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. This has made Vietnam the largest steel consuming country in the region, overtaking Thailand. Vietnam enjoyed significant surge in growth rates for both long and flat steel, at 25% y-o-y and 39% y-o-y respectively. Long steel producers also benefited from the increase in steel demand with a growth of 22% y-o-y in output while imports also soared 24% y-o-y in the same period. Export volume of long steel remained modest, at nearly 400,000 tonnes in the first half of 2015, a growth of only 0.4% y-o-y. In the meantime, import of flat steel in Vietnam rose robustly by 43% y-o-y and flat steel export also registered a significant growth rate of 59% y-o-y to reach almost nearly a million tonnes in the first half of 2015. The exports were mainly coated sheet and cold rolled sheet.
Singapore’s steel demand posted the highest growth rate in the region of 37.8% y-o-y to 2.2 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. Singapore’s significant growth in steel demand was a result of a huge increase in long steel demand, at 50% y-o-y. However, domestic production of long steel declined by 9% y-o-y. Demand for flat steel registered a growth rate of 13% y-o-y. However, flat steel import declined 5% y-o-y while export dropped significantly, by 25% y-o-y.
Philippines’ steel demand picked up by 9% y-o-y to 3.8 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. This was due to a double digit growth rate in long steel demand while flat steel demand declined slightly, by 1.7% y-o-y. Long steel production increased moderately, by 4.2% y-o-y. Meanwhile, import surged robustly by 36% y-o-y during the same period. This was the result of a huge increase in section import, nearly double in volume compared to the corresponding period of 2014.
Malaysia maintained its moderate growth path in steel demand, increasing by 2.6% y-o-y in the first half of 2015. Malaysia’s long steel demand picked up robustly, by 20% y-o-y. However, domestic production only surged by 4% y-o-y. Import, on the other hand, increased by half a million tonnes to nearly 2 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. Flat steel demand declined substantially, by 25% y-o-y, with both domestic production and imports registering negative growth rates. Domestic production dropped 31% y-o-y and import contracted 6% y-o-y. On the other hand, export surged significantly, by 24% y-o-y during the same period.
Thailand’s steel demand stagnated at 8.4 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. Long steel demand picked up moderately by 7% y-o-y to 2.9 million tonnes while demand for flat steel declined 3% y-o-y. Domestic long steel production in Thailand dipped 1% y-o-y to 1.9 million tonnes while import rose 8% y-o-y to 1.4 million tonnes in the first half of 2015. Meanwhile, export declined significantly, by 19% y-o-y. Flat steel production dropped by a double digit of 11% to 1.4 million tonnes while import stagnated at 4.2 million tonnes. Export remained insignificant, at around 200,000 tonnes from January to June 2015.
Indonesia is the only country in the region that experienced a decline in steel demand by, 2.6% to 7.3 million tonnes. Long steel demand declined 5% y-o-y while flat steel demand stagnated. Domestic production, both for long and flat steel, registered double digit negative growth rates of 22% y-o-y and 37% y-o-y respectively. On the other hand, import of long steel surged by 15% y-o-y and import of flat steel increased by almost a million tonnes in the same period. Export of long steel was not significant and the volume contracted by 26% y-o-y in the first half of 2015. Meanwhile, flat steel export surged robustly by 37% y-o-y to half a million tonnes in the first half of the year. This was because of the huge increase of hot rolled plate export, principally to India.