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World Steel Recycling in Figures: January-March 2022 update

Global crude steel production totalled 456.630 million tonnes in January-March 2022 - down 6.8% compared to the same period in 2021, according to worldsteel. Data in our corresponding table show a decrease in China’s crude steel production in the first three months of this year of 10.5% to 243.380 million tonnes, during which period the country’s share of global steel production was 53.3%.

In the opening quarter, steel production was also lower in the EU-27 (-3.8% to 36.818 million tonnes), Japan (-2.9% to 23.013 million tonnes), the USA (-0.4% to 20.322 million tonnes), the Republic of Korea (-3.8% to 16.919 million tonnes), Russia (-2.2% to 16.568 million tonnes) and Turkey (-4.7% to 9.434 million tonnes).

China’s steel scrap usage down 10.7%

According to our statistics, China’s steel scrap consumption was 10.7% lower in the first quarter of 2022 at 57.33 million tonnes, although the country remained the world’s largest user. The drop in scrap consumption was therefore steeper than the fall in crude steel production in China.

Compared to steel production, scrap usage also dropped more sharply in the USA (-1.8% to 11 million tonnes) and Russia (-2.9% to 7.833 million tonnes). In contrast, the dip in scrap usage was less pronounced than the decline in crude steel production in the EU-27 (-1% to 21.662 million tonnes), Turkey (-1.6% to 8.286 million tonnes) and Japan (-0.9% to 8.256 million tonnes). A year-on-year increase in scrap usage was recorded by the Republic of Korea (+0.9% to 6.910 million tonnes).

Turkey’s steel scrap imports decrease by 5.3%

The first quarter of 2022 brought a 5.3% decrease in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases to 5.987 million tonnes; nevertheless, the country remained the world’s foremost steel scrap importer. Its main suppliers were the USA (+61.3% to 1.118 million tonnes), the Netherlands (-47% to 0.546 million tonnes) and Venezuela (+183.9% to 0.440 million tonnes).

The Republic of Korea became the world’s second-largest steel scrap importer in the first quarter of 2022 (+48.1% to 1.339 million tonnes), with its main suppliers being Japan (+32.6% to 0.859 million tonnes), the USA (+164.5% to 0.164 million tonnes) and Russia (+10.2% to 0.119 million tonnes).

India was the world’s third-largest steel scrap importer in the opening quarter of 2022 (-11.1% to 1.279 million tonnes). Its main suppliers were the United Arab Emirates (-1% to 0.307 million tonnes), the USA (-22.4% to 0.104 million tonnes) and Singapore (-14% to 0.092 million tonnes).

Compared to the January-March period of 2021, steel scrap imports were higher into Indonesia (+18% to 0.328 million tonnes). Conversely, import declines were recorded in the first quarter of 2022 by Mexico (-10% to 0.705 million tonnes), Taiwan (-10.5% to 0.701 million tonnes), Canada (-16.5% to 0.172 million tonnes) and Belarus (-58.9% to 0.136 million tonnes).

Figures for Pakistan, Bangladesh and Vietnam were not available ahead of our editorial deadline.

EU-27 steel scrap exports fall 26.3%

The EU-27 remained the world’s leading steel scrap exporter in the first quarter of 2022, even though its outbound shipments tumbled during this period by 26.3% to 4.385 million tonnes. Its leading buyers were Turkey (-26.1% to 3.063 million tonnes), Egypt (-45.5% to 0.303 million tonnes) and Bangladesh with 0.237 million tonnes.

The first three months of 2022 brought a decrease in US steel scrap exports of 4.7% to 3.932 million tonnes. Bangladesh was the only leading buyer to extend its purchases (+91.1% to 0.451 million tonnes) whereas deliveries declined to Turkey (-4.7% to 0.964 million tonnes) and Mexico (-16% to 0.708 million tonnes).

Also in January-March 2022, a year-on-year decrease was recorded in steel scrap exports from the UK (-1.5% to 1.976 million tonnes) - a total which includes biggest buyer Egypt (+30.1% to 0.419 million tonnes).

Declines in overseas shipments were also registered by Japan (-23.4% to 1.430 million tonnes), Canada (-5.3% to 1.134 million tonnes) and Singapore (-9% to 0.151 million tonnes). In contrast, export increases were recorded in the first quarter of 2022 by Australia (+0.2% to 0.431 million tonnes), Malaysia (+37.7% to 0.212 million tonnes), Mexico (+16.7% to 0.196 million tonnes) and South Africa (+392.9% to 0.138 million tonnes).

In closing, I would like to extend my special thanks to Daniela Entzian, the BIR Ferrous Division’s Deputy Statistics Advisor, for her excellent co-operation.