Steel consumption in the six Asean countries is expected to recover this year, Kallanish understands. Consumption in Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam is projected to grow at 5-6% year-on-year in 2018, Tan Ah Yong, secretary-general of South East Asia Iron & Steel Institute (Seaisi), said at this week’s Seaisi conference in Jakarta.
Regional apparent steel consumption is set to pick up this year and surpass 80 million tonnes in 2019 amid the implementation of construction and infrastructure projects, Tan said.
Overall apparent steel consumption last year fell by -4.2% y-o-y to 73.8mt. Due to buoyant construction sectors, Indonesia and the Philippines saw steel consumption expand by 7.3% and 1.5% respectively y-o-y to 13.6mt and 9.8mt. The other nations suffered a drop in consumption on slower construction and destocking activities following a massive stockpiling in 2016 which affected Thailand especially. Thailand saw steel consumption drop by -14.1% to 16.5mt.
Last year, overall finished steel production in the countries rose significantly by 8.9% y-o-y to 34.7mt. Vietnam and Indonesia saw strong growth of 30.5% and 19.5% respectively to 11.3mt and 7.9mt. Thailand saw a large drop of -13.8% to 6.9mt. Production in Malaysia and Philippines was marginally lower at 3.8mt and 4.3mt respectively.
Interestingly, regional finished steel exports rose strongly, by 17.9% to 10.1mt. Vietnam’s steel exports, comprising mainly construction longs and flats, rose 24% to 4.7mt. Indonesia’s finished steel export of mostly flats rose by 70% to 1.35mt. Malaysian and Thai steel exports increased 32% and 21% respectively to 1.4mt and 1.3mt.
Imports fell last year by -8.4% to 49.1mt. Chinese steel imports accounted for 43% of total imports, down from 53% in 2016. The share of Japanese and South Korean imports to the region last year was 23% and 11% respectively, up from 19% and 8% respectively in 2016.