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Asian Steel Demand Will Rise, While Chinese Demand Will Fall

Apr 22, 2021

Representatives of the Southeast Asian Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI) and JFE Steel Corporation stated at the Kallanish (Opening Business Information Consulting) Asian Steel Market 2021 conference held on Wednesday that steel consumption in Southeast Asia, South Korea, and Japan is expected to rebound from 2021.

 

The China Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute also pointed out that China is facing a mid- to long-term decline in steel consumption.

 

SEAISI Secretary-General Yeoh Wee Jin said that steel consumption in the six ASEAN countries-Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam-is estimated to fall by 12.5% year-on-year to 70 million tons in 2020. This year's steel consumption may reach 72-75 million tons, an increase of 2.9-7% year-on-year.

 

Mike Fujisawa, who is responsible for overseas business planning at JFE, also predicts that the demand for steel from the five ASEAN countries will reach 71.3 million tons in 2021. Both Yeoh and Fujisawa believe that this year's demand in the region will not reach the level before the epidemic.

 

Li Xinchuang, director of the Metallurgical Industry Planning and Research Institute, said that China is facing a slow decline in steel consumption in the medium and long term. By 2035, China will enter the late stage of industrialization. As China moves toward carbon neutrality, steel consumption will decrease. However, continued urbanization will slow this decline.

 

The low-carbon concept will shape the pattern of high-quality development in China's steel industry, Li Xinchuang added. This means the three trends of digitalization, technological revolution, and green cooperation. He pointed out that financial factors, tax incentives, carbon trading market system, international cooperation, and comprehensive standards will encourage more low-carbon development in the industry.

 

In terms of import and export, the trends of different countries last year. In 2020, the six ASEAN countries exported 19.1 million tons, an increase of 23% year-on-year, but imports fell 18.2% to 41.9 million tons. On the contrary, China's steel imports increased by 64.4% year-on-year to 20.233 million tons, but exports were 53.671 million tons, down 16.5%.