Economy, Business And Markets

Iran Semi-Finished Steel Exports Jump 76%

Billet and bloom shipments made up the bulk of exports, reaching 1.78 million tons, up 28% year-on-year.Billet and bloom shipments made up the bulk of exports, reaching 1.78 million tons, up 28% year-on-year.

Iran’s semi-finished steel exports during the first seven months of the current fiscal year (March 21-Oct. 22) stood at 3.51 million tons, up 76% year-on-year, according to Iranian Steel Producers Association’s latest report.

Billet and bloom shipments made up the bulk of exports, reaching 1.78 million tons, up 28% year-on-year. Slab exports came next with a 188% YOY upsurge to 1.72 million tons.

Finished steel exports were down 47% YOY to 690,000 tons. Rebar and coated coils were the only products registering growth with 319,000 tons, up 100.6% YOY and 40,000 tons, up 135% YOY respectively. Hot- and cold-rolled coil and beams were down 77%, 94% and 23% YOY to 195,000, 7,000 and 99,000 tons respectively.

Things stayed the same on the imports front, as they were down for almost all products. Semi and finished steel imports were down 83% and 33% YOY to stand at 26,000 and 1.2 million tons respectively. Beam, coated coil and slabs were the only products whose imports recorded growth. Slab imports saw a 450% YOY upsurge to 11,000 tons.

Iranian steelmakers have barely deviated from this year’s dominant trading pattern. Semi exports, the more lucrative goods these days, have increased while more finished products are being allocated to the local market.

The comatose condition of the construction market keeps demand for structural steel at sticky lows, semis exports enjoy a high demand, especially in southeastern Asian markets, and Europe’s backlash over Mobarakeh Steel Company’s high-value added flat steel shipments to the continent have made the company retreat to the local market.

In the meantime, steelmakers produced over 23.5 million tons of semis and finished steel during the seven-month period to register a 12.07% growth YOY.

Semi-finished steel output stood at 12.24 million tons, up 14% year-on-year. Billet and bloom production was up 15% to 6.52 million tons, and slab output grew 13% to 5.72 million tons.

Finished products came next with 11.31 million tons with a 10% YOY growth. Hot-rolled coil was the main commodity with 4.42 million tons, followed by rebar with 3.56 million tons, cold-rolled coil with 1.38 million tons, coated coil with 898,000 tons, beams with 566,000 tons and “other steel products” with 483,000 tons.

All products posted solid growth in output save for beam and rebar, both of which dropped 5% YOY. The lethargic construction sector has yet to be revived in Iran and consequently, demand for related materials remains at sticky lows.

As part of the 20-Year Vision Plan (2005-25), the Iranian steel industry aims to become the world’s sixth largest steelmaker by reaching an output capacity of 55 million tons per year by the deadline (2025).

Exports are expected to reach 8 million tons in the current fiscal year, which ends on March 21, 2018, according to former minister of industries, Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh.

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