Economy, Business And Markets

ISPA Monitors Iranian Steel Sector Performance

ISPA Monitors Iranian Steel Sector PerformanceISPA Monitors Iranian Steel Sector Performance
Private steelmakers had a faster output growth during the two months compared to state-run producers

Iranian steelmakers produced 6.77 million tons of semi-finished and finished steel products during the first two months of the current fiscal year (March 21-May 21), indicating a 13.3% growth compared with last year’s corresponding period.

Production of semis, including slab, billet and bloom, accounted for 3.52 million tons of the overall figure and indicated a 12% rise year-on-year. Slab output was up 17% to 1.81 million tons, and billet and bloom production rose 7% to 11.71 million tons YOY, according to Iranian Steel Producers Association’s latest report on its official website.

Finished products, including beam, rebar, cold- and hot-rolled and coated coil, had a 3.24-million-ton share from the total output and registered a 15% YOY growth in production. 

Hot-rolled coil had the lion’s share with 1.24 million tons, up 4% YOY; followed by rebar with 1.07 million tons, up 8% YOY; cold-rolled coil with 421,000 tons, up 48% YOY; coated coil with 272,000 tons, up 73% YOY; beam with 89,000 tons, down 39% YOY; and ‘other steel products’ with 154,000 tons, up 161%.

The continuing slump in the construction sector can be considered the main cause of the drop in beam output.

Last year’s exports trend is still persisting, with the two-month semi shipments rising and finished exports falling.

Over 1.08 million tons of semis were exported during the period, up 45% YOY. Slab shipments recorded a 170% upsurge to 627,000 tons, while billet and bloom shipments dropped 11% to 457.

Finished product exports, on the other hand, were down 65% to 180,000 tons. Rebar was the only commodity posting growth in exports, up 98% YOY to 117,000 tons. The export of all other products had a double-digit decline.

Imports were down across the whole spectrum of steel products. Semi and finished steel imports were down 81% and 29% to stand at 6,000 and 351,000 tons respectively.

 Private Mills Gaining Speed 

Private steelmakers had a faster output growth during the two months compared to state-run producers, as they produced 786,000 tons of semis and 1.31 million tons of finished steel products, up 19% and 21% respectively YOY. 

CRC and coated coils had the highest growth in output (133% and 70% respectively) among all products, highlighting private producers’ focus on export-friendly goods.

The state-run sector is lagging behind while accounting for a higher share of Iran’s steel production. Producing 2.74 million tons of semis and 1.93 million tons of finished products, the sector’s two-month output was up 10% and 11% respectively.

Production of private mills had a whopping 41% jump to produce 4.04 million tons of semis and 15% rise to reach 6.82 million tons of finished products last year. 

The state-run sector, however, had a 5% growth in semis to hit 14.41 million tons and a 1% downturn in finished products to reach 11.33 million tons.

 Finished Steel Usage Growing

Apparent steel usage grew across the entire spectrum of steel products during the period under review with finished steel at the forefront.

Iranian consumers used 3.42 million tons of finished steel products during the period, up 22% YOY. This is significantly higher compared to last month’s 5% and last year’s negative growth.

Semi-finished steel usage, however, grew only 1% to 2.44 million tons. Slab usage went down 10%, as billet and bloom grew 13%. The lower demand is expected to boost mills’ motivation to shift to export markets.

Iran’s steel consumption has been on a downward trend for the past six years, highlighting the country’s ailing market and subdued demand. Iran’s apparent steel used per capita stood at 238.7 kg of finished steel in 2016, 15% less than the 265.2 kg in 2010, according to World Steel Association. 

The country’s total apparent steel usage showed the same trend, as it stood at 19.1 million tons in 2016, down nearly 9.5% compared to 21.1 million tons in 2011.

The Ministry of Industries, Mining and Trade is planning to boost Iran’s crude steel capacity to 55 million tons by 2025 and become the world’s sixth largest steelmaker. If the target is realized, the produced steel must be used somewhere and demand needs to keep growing.

Iran is among the world’s fastest growing steelmaking countries. According to WSA data, Iranian mills produced 8.159 million tons of crude steel in the five months to June 2017, registering a 13.1% growth YOY. Among major steelmakers with a five-month output of over 2 million tons, Iran takes the fourth spot in terms of output growth after Vietnam, Poland and Brazil.

Iran is currently the world’s 14th largest steelmaker, placed between Mexico (13th) and France (15th).


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