Divisional Interim President Tom Bird emphasises that this compilation of important statistics on the global ferrous scrap markets has received a hugely positive reception since it appeared for the first time in 2010.
In this new publication, the final figures for 2017 show an increase in world crude steel output and in steel scrap use for steelmaking in key countries and regions. It highlights the unexpected growth in China’s steel scrap usage last year – which was closely related to the closure of most of its induction furnaces – and the resulting statistical effects. We have calculated an increase in the global use of steel scrap as a raw material for steelmaking in 2017. Besides this, the calculation model shows a relatively stable use of steel scrap in the world’s iron and steel foundries over recent years. It is also interesting to note that the final figures for 2017 show positive signs in external steel scrap trading.
Rolf Willeke, Statistical Advisor of the BIR Ferrous Division, summarises below the main news and findings contained in this report, which covers the five-year period from 2013 to 2017:
- World crude steel production increased by 3.9% last year to 1.69 billion tonnes, according to worldsteel. It is interesting to note that the global increase in basic oxygen furnace production (+2.3% to 1.228 billion tonnes) was bettered by the upturn in scrap-intensive electric furnace production (+8% to around 445 million tonnes).
- China was the world’s biggest steel scrap user in 2017. According to official figures, steel scrap consumption grew in China last year to 147.9 million tonnes. During the preparation of our ninth edition, we have learned – particularly through talks with our member federation CAMU – that this unexpected growth was closely related to China’s closure of induction furnaces last year, with most of this sector’s production and steel scrap consumption not included in official figures. Estimates indicate that steel scrap
use in the country’s induction furnaces could have amounted to around 60 million tonnes
- in 2016. This large quantity of steel scrap was not incorporated in official figures
for 2016 or in those for preceding years, and so no direct comparisons can be made with the figures for 2017. Most of this 60 million tonnes of steel scrap was used in 2017 by China’s basic oxygen furnace and electric furnace steel producers, thus explaining last year’s sharp increase in China’s official steel scrap usage. A further 2.2 million tonnes of steel scrap was not used domestically in China but was instead exported.
- The increase in China’s official usage figure for last year is in line with the government’s plans for a general rise in steel scrap use in domestic steel production. As a result,
China’s electric furnace production is expected to climb over the coming years and further investments in steel scrap processing are planned, especially in shredder capacity.
- Also on the increase in 2017 was steel scrap use for steelmaking in the EU-28 (+5.6% to 93.35 million tonnes), the USA (+3.7% to 58.8 million tonnes), Japan (+6.6% to 35.8 million tonnes), the Republic of Korea (+11.3% to 30.5 million tonnes), Turkey (+17% to 30.3 million tonnes) and Russia (+2.5% to 28.5 million tonnes).
- For 2017, total steel scrap use in the seven key countries and regions was 425 million tonnes while related crude steel production was 1.37 billion tonnes. For the world as a whole, we calculate steel scrap usage of around 600 million tonnes for last year in a global crude steel production total of, as noted above, 1.69 billon tonnes. The proportion of steel scrap used in crude steel production was 35.5% worldwide last year, while our statistics reveal this share to be 17.8% in China, 55.5% in the EU-28, 72.1% in the USA, 34.2% in Japan, 43% in the Republic of Korea, 80.8% in Turkey and 39.9% in Russia.
- Global annual ferrous scrap use in the world’s iron and steel foundries has been approximately 69 million tonnes over recent years.
- According to Official Trade Statistics/WV Stahl, global external steel scrap trade – including internal EU-28 trade – amounted to 99 million tonnes last year (+9.9% compared to 2016).