The 2019 SEAISI Conference and Exhibition was successfully held at The Athenee Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand from 17 to 20 June 2019. With the theme “Sustainable Development of ASEAN Steel Value Chain”, the event attracted a large turnout of more than 530 delegates from some 30 countries across the globe while the exhibition saw a total of 32 companies taking up all the 47 exhibition booths and three corporate suites.
Mr. Ittichai Yotsi, Deputy Director General, The Office of Industrial Economics, Ministry of Industry, officiated the opening of the conference on behalf of the Minister of Industry of Thailand.
The highlight of the conference was the Keynote Session featuring two prominent speakers from China and Japan as well as the CEO Panel Discussion participated by several top steel executives in Asia.
The first keynote speaker was Mr. Nobusa Yoshiyuki, Senior Vice President of JFE Steel Corporation of Japan. In his presentation entitled “JFE’s Approach to the Growing ASEAN Steel Market”, Mr. Nobusa stated that Chinese steel use will decline but global steel demand is expected to remain flat, supported by rising demand in ASEAN, India and other emerging countries. He further pointed out that while ASEAN will still rely on imports, the region is moving towards self-sufficiency, with increasing domestic production volume. On JFE’s ASEAN business strategy, Mr. Nobusa mentioned that the focus will be on the automotive and construction/infrastructure sectors.
The second keynote speaker, Mr. Lin Zhangguo, Chief Executive Officer, HBIS Industrial Technology Service Co., Ltd, China, talked about “Green Manufacturing and Globalisation of HBIS Group”. In his address, Mr. Lin highlighted HBIS’s effort in leading the green development of the steel industry through various initiatives that focus on energy conservation, emission reduction and pollution mitigation. On globalisation practice of HBIS Group, the emphasis is to leverage on the synergy of the Group’s global resources and build global marketing platform to reach out to its globalised customers.
After the keynote presentations, Mr. Lin (Mr. Nobusa had to leave earlier for another business engagement) was joined by Dato’ Lim Hong Thye, Group Managing Director of Malaysia’s Ann Joo Group of Companies and Mr. Lin Yao-Kang, Vice President, Formosa Ha Tinh Steel Corporation of Vietnam, for a CEO Panel Discussion. The session, moderated by Mr. Win Viriyaprapaikit, Chairman of SEAISI, saw a lively exchange of views among the panel members and conference delegates on the theme of the conference as well as other topics of current interest. Among the key points raised were:
- Companies could take advantage of developments in steel value chain and globalisation by focusing on their core competencies and trying to be insightful in whatever they do.
- China is unlikely to become an exporter of ferrous scrap by 2025 and scrap consumption in BOF could go up to 25%.
- China’s power supply is tight and government’s priority is on other sectors. Thus, cost of energy for steel production is expected to go up.
- On environmental control, pressure will come from the government and there is a need to look at new sources of energy, e.g. hydrogen.
- Vietnam’s consumption of HRC in 2018 was more than 11 million tonnes while import was 8 million tonnes. Thus, domestic production only supplied 30% of demand. With Vietnam’s steel demand expected to reach 40 million tonnes by 2025, there is incentive for Formosa Ha Tinh to study on building its third blast furnace in the country.-
In the session on “Regional Developments”, delegates were updated on the developments of the iron and steel industry in ASEAN as well as in the region’s two most important neighbours – China and India.
The papers presented for the session on “Market Perspectives & Challenges” were “The New Era in Steel – Post China Supply Side Reforms and the Outlook for Steelmaking in SE Asia” by CRU Group; “Managing Risk in a Competitive ASEAN Market” by Argus Media; and “Trade Tensions and Impact on ASEAN Steel Industry” by UOB Singapore. Some of the key takeaways from this session include:
- China’s steel supply side reforms in recent years has been the main driver of improved industry profitability.
- Chinese steel demand is entering off-peak season with domestic market sliding and export looking more attractive.
- The high margins of 2017-18 are in decline.
- Potential for over-capacity in the ASEAN region exists and some countries could be net exporters of steel within 5-10 years.
- Steel protectionism rising with more AD measures.
- Post tariff – exporters of steel products into ASEAN has increased versus that of Japan and Korea.
For the first time, one plenary session each was organised on days two and three of the conference. The first was on “Challenges & Opportunities Before Steel Industry in a Rapidly Changing World”. Moderated by Mr. Atul Gogna, CEO of INSTAC Consulting, the speakers were Dr. Vincent Chevrier of Midrex Technologies and Dr. Alexander Fleischanderl of Primetal Technologies, with Mr. Roberto Cola, SEAISI Director for the Philippines, joining them after their presentations in the panel discussion.
The second plenary session touched on “Value Creation in Steel Industry Through Circular Economy Mindset”. The session was moderated by Mr. Wikrom Vajragupta, Chairman of Thailand Iron and Steel Industry Club, The Federation of Thai Industries. The speakers were Dr. Nae Hee Han of World Steel Association, Dr. Shiro Watakabe of The Japan Iron and Steel Federation and Mr. Yap Chin Seng of Certification Authority for Reinforcing Steels, United Kingdom. The three speakers were later on joined by Mr. Win Viriyaprapaikit, Chairman of SEAISI, for a panel discussion.
The two plenary sessions were well attended and participated by the conference delegates despite the fact that they took place at the very end of the programme in the respective two days.
As usual, the presentation of Country Reports by the member countries of SEAISI was very well received by the delegates, with the new member country of SEAISI, Myanmar, presenting its maiden country report in the conference. In addition, a total of 66 technical papers were delivered by various experts over 14 sessions on the second and third day of the conference.
The plant tour after the conference attracted a total of 98 delegates who were divided into two groups to visit several leading steel and steel related establishments in Rayong and Ayutthaya.
The success of the 2019 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition in Bangkok, Thailand was the result of the efforts and contributions of many organisations and individuals. The Institute would like to convey its deepest appreciation to the co-host of the event, The Iron and Steel Institute of Thailand (ISIT), all the speakers and chairpersons, all the exhibitors, sponsors and advertisers, all the companies that hosted the plant tour and all the delegates for your tremendous support and participation.
The 2020 SEAISI Conference & Exhibition will be held in Malaysia. The theme will be “Steel in ASEAN – New Possibilities, New Challenges and New Approches”. We look forward to seeing you all again at our next year’s event.