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Posted on 28 Sep 2022

Flat Steel Demand in ASEAN-6 in 2021: An Expectation for the Recovery

Flat steel demand in ASEAN-6 picked up moderately, by 7% y-o-y to nearly 40 million tonnes in 2021. The increase was higher when compared to the growth rate for long steel demand. Domestic flat steel production surged around 4 million tonnes, a significant increase of 29% y-o-y. Import recovered moderately, at 7% y-o-y to 35 million tonnes. Export jumped nearly 4 million tonnes to 13 million tonnes.

Almost all countries in the ASEAN-6 experienced double-digit growth rates in flat steel demand in 2021. Singapore’s flat steel demand picked up 37% y-o- y to above the pre-pandemic level due to improved demand and re-stocking.

Thailand, the second highest growth rate of flat steel demand in the region, enjoyed a 21% of flat steel demand growth. Automotive sector picked up significantly from the pre-pandemic level. Other manufacturing sectors recovered at moderate rates in 2021, including electrical appliances and machinery sector. It is expected that these sectors will continue to grow at higher rate in 2022.

There is no hot rolled and cold rolled flat steel producer in Philippines. As such, all demand is served fully by imports. Major steel consuming sectors in the country are construction sector and shipbuilding sector. Philippines is the fourth largest shipbuilding hub in the world. Moreover, the huge infrastructure projects from the government under the name “Build Build Build” have boosted up flat steel demand to grow at 17% y-o-y in 2021.

Flat steel demand in Malaysia jumped by half a million tonnes or at 13.5% y-o-y in 2021. Manufacturing sectors recovered with double positive growth rates in 2021, driven by petroleum, chemical, electrical & electronics and food & beverages. Automotive sector was still stagnant in 2021. However, it is expected that demand will increase to enjoy a double-digit growth rate in 2022.

Indonesia’s flat stee demand increased moderately, at 6% y-o-y in 2021. Major driving sectors for flat steel demand are automotive, electrical equipment and shipbuilding. Vehicle products increased by a double-digit growth rate in 2021. Shipbuilding, on the other hand, was badly hit by the pandemic and declined significantly in 2021. Electrical equipment was also badly hit by the pandemic and the volume only recovered slightly in 2021.

Vietnam is the only country in the region that experienced a negative growth rate in flat steel demand, at a negative 9.5% y-o-y in 2021. However, domestic production increased significantly, by nearly 3 million tonnes which was mainly to serve export market. It is expected that flat steel demand will increase significantly in next years to serve growing infrastructure development, including the Eastern North-South expressway and Long Thanh International Airport. 

Source: All data is derived from the preparation for 2022 SEAISI Statistical Yearbook