Steel consumption in ASEAN maintained its moderate pace of growth in 2015. The newly released 2016 SEAISI Steel Statistical Yearbook reveals that total apparent steel consumption in the six ASEAN member countries of SEAISI i.e. Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam reached 68.96 million tonnes in 2015, an increase of 4.3% year-on-year.
The standout country in steel consumption growth in 2015 is unquestionably Vietnam, which saw its total steel demand for the year soaring 26.4% year-on-year, from 14.4 million tonnes in 2014 to 18.3 million tonnes in 2015. With that, Vietnam has overtaken the perennial leader, Thailand, as the biggest steel consuming country in ASEAN.
Thailand, in contrast, registered a second consecutive year of decline in steel consumption in 2015. Total steel demand in Thailand decreased from 17.5 million tonnes in 2014 to 16.6 million tonnes in 2015, a sharper drop of 5.6% year-on-year compared with the 1.6% year-on-year decline recorded in 2014.
Indonesia, a country with great potential in steel consumption growth, again failed to live up to its potential. After experiencing anaemic growth rates in steel consumption in 2013 and 2014, Indonesia’s steel demand plummeted and register a negative growth rate of 11.8% year-on-year in 2015. Total steel demand dropped from 12.9 million tonnes in 2014 to 11.4 million tonnes in 2015.
Malaysia’s steel demand retreated marginally in 2015, registering a negative growth rate of 0.8% year-on-year. Total steel consumption in the year was 10 million tonnes, down from 10.1 million tonnes in the previous year.
Philippines registered the second highest growth rate in steel consumption in ASEAN in 2015, behind Vietnam. Total steel demand in the country jumped 19.6% year-on-year to reach 8.8 million tonnes in 2015.
After shrinking 10.4% in 2014, Singapore’s steel demand rebounded in 2015, with a year-on-year growth rate of 4.8%. The country’s steel consumption increased to 4 million tonnes
in 2015, from 3.8 million tonnes in 2014.
The region’s crude steel production retreated 4.4% year-on-year, from 20.4 million tonnes in 2014 to 19.5 million tonnes in 2015. Production of hot-rolled steel products, however, increased slightly, from 27.7 million tonnes in 2014 to 28.5 million tonnes in 2015, up 3% year-on-year.
As in the previous years, imports continued to swamp the ASEAN steel market. In 2015, a total of 64.1 million tonnes of iron and steel products, including semis, were imported into the region, up 3% year-on-year. Again, China was the largest source, accounting for half of the total imports.
Import of semi-finished products reached a record high in 2015, surging 17% year-on-year to 12.8 million tonnes. Import of billet totalled 7.6 million tonnes while the volume for slab was 2.6 million tonnes.
For finished steel products, the biggest import items in 2015 were plates, hot-rolled sheets and strips which totalled 19.2 million tonnes, an increase of 4.5% compared to the preceding year.
The biggest surge in import volume was, however, recorded in sections, bars and wire rods which jumped 11.4%, from 12.4 million tonnes in 2014 to 13.8 million tonnes in 2015.
Other major import items in 2015 were coated sheets (7.4 million tonnes), cold-rolled products (5 million tonnes) and pipes & tubes (2.1 million tonnes).
In tandem with its new position as the biggest steel consuming country in ASEAN, Vietnam was also the largest importer of iron and steel products in the region in 2015. Its total import volume of the products in that year was 16.5 million tonnes, a huge increase of 36% year-on-year.
Thailand has dropped to become the second largest importer of iron and steel products in ASEAN in 2015, with total import volume of 15.1 million tonnes, followed by Indonesia (11.5 million tonnes), Malaysia (7.9 million tonnes ), Philippines (7.8 million tonnes) and Singapore (5.3 million tonnes).
The six ASEAN countries together exported a total of 11.6 million tonnes of iron and steel products in 2015, little change in volume from the preceding year. Again, Vietnam was the biggest steel exporting country with a total volume of 3.5 million tonnes, followed by Indonesia (2.5 million tonnes), Malaysia (2.3 million tonnes), Singapore (1.7 million tonnes) and Thailand (1.5 million tonnes). Philippines, for the first time, recorded a small export volume of 100,000 tonnes in 2015.
Get hold of a copy of the 2016 SEAISI Steel Statistical Yearbook for comprehensive information on the steel industry, including steel production, consumption, trade statistics and more, in the six ASEAN countries as well as Australia, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.
TAN AH YONG