Davis Index: Market Intelligence for the Global Metals and Recycled Materials Markets

ASEAN countries have exported 4.8mn mt steel products from January to April this year, and China emerged the largest importer from outside the ASEAN region in addition to becoming the first country to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic,  according to data by Southeast Asia Iron & Steel Institute (SEAISI) presented in an e-conference recently.


Out of total exports, highest share was of long steel products (31pc) while flat products accounted for 29pc share of hot-rolled coil and plate. Share of semi finish steel was 24pc and steel scrap 7pc.


During the pandemic period, China emerged as the largest importer of ASEAN steel exports outside of ASEAN region. Out of total 4.8mn mt, China imported around 1.15mn mt occupying 24pc share. Out of total exports to China, 14pc was semi-finish and 5pc was wire rod. 


Malaysia mainly exported bars and wire rods to China; Vietnam supplied large quantities of billets and slabs, whereas Indonesia exported mainly stainless steel and cold-rolled coils during Jan-Apr 2020.  


ASEAN steel exports to China during Jan-Apr’2020

ProductsJan-Apr 2019Jan-Apr 2020Change %
Blooms, beams1000000-100
Finished steel20400032600059.80
Wire rods063000_
Cold-rolled coils2900085000193.10

China steel exports to ASEAN during Jan-Apr’2020

ProductsJan-Apr 2019 (‘000 mt)Jan-Apr 2020 (‘000 mt)Change (%)
Wire rods941.7600.6-36.2
Hot-rolled coil/sheets1,196.70946.2-20.9
CR products452.1344-23.9
Coated sheets1,841.901,997.908.5
Pipe & Tubes444.8451.61.5

Quantity in MT; 


Steel demand to fall 2pc in 2020 

ASEAN countries could see a decline of 2.1pc in 2020 from the prior year due to COVID-19 spread, however, the demand is expected to recover by 5pc in 2021, Davis Index learned from the SEAISI conference held recently. 


ASEAN countries steel demand is projected at 79.3mn mt in 2020 from 81mn mt in 2019.  


The ASEAN-6 countries had announced the introduction of economic stimulus packages equivalent to $332bn. After mid-2020, economic activities are expected to gain momentum. Apparent steel consumption among the ASEAN-6 is expected rebound 5pc to 83.2mn mt in 2021.


Consumer sectors like automotive and construction industries, however, could take more time as lockdowns across ASEAN countries and restrictions on border and overseas transports affected it.  


In 2020, according to an estimate, flat steel production will drop to 41mn mt from 41.8mn mt in 2019 and long steel output will drop to 38mn mt from 39.2mn mt last year.


In Q1 2020, vehicle sales dropped by 19.1pc from the prior year. The year is likely to remain less supportive for the auto industry amid dampened consumers demand. Federation of Thai Industries forecast Thailand’s vehicle production to either slip by 33.8pc to 1.33mn units, or if pandemic continues then it could drop by 50.2pc to 1mn units.  

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