Skip to main content

World Steel Recycling in Figures: January-June 2022 update

Global crude steel production totalled 949.4 million tonnes in January-June 2022 for a decline of 5.5% compared to the same period in 2021, according to worldsteel.

Data in our table show a decrease in crude steel production in all regions of the world.

Despite a drop of 4.9% to 698.250 million tonnes, Asia remained the world’s largest crude steel producer.

Regionally speaking, the lowest crude steel production was recorded by Oceania with a year-on-year dip of 1.8% to 3.146 million tonnes. Elsewhere, the totals were as follows: EU-27 (-6.2% to 73.758 million tonnes); other Europe (-5% to 23.994 million tonnes); CIS (-18% to 43.647 million tonnes); North America (-2.3% to 57.170 million tonnes); South America (-2.8% to 21.799 million tonnes); Africa (-9.1% to 7.280 million tonnes); and the Middle East (-5.9% to 20.398 million tonnes).

China’s steel scrap usage down by 13.8%

According to our statistics, China’s steel scrap consumption was 13.8% lower in the first half of 2022 at 119.55 million tonnes - in percentage terms, more than double the decline seen in crude steel production over the same period (-6.5% to 526.9 million tonnes). With its share of global crude steel production running at 55.5%, China remained the world’s largest steel scrap user.

Steeper percentage declines in steel scrap usage when compared to falls in crude steel production were also recorded by the USA (-3% to 22.5 million tonnes versus -2.2% to 41.147 million tonnes) and by Russia (-6.3% to 15.400 million tonnes versus -5.6% to 36.656 million tonnes). Conversely, lower percentage declines in scrap usage compared to drops in crude steel production were registered by the EU-27 (-3.2% to an estimated 43.850 million tonnes versus -6.2% to 73.758 million tonnes), Japan (-1.8% to 16.891 million tonnes compared to -4.3% to 45.998 million tonnes), Turkey (-2.9% to 16.520 million tonnes as against -4.6% to 18.955 million tonnes), and the Republic of Korea (-1.6% to 14.122 million tonnes versus -3.9% to 33.841 million tonnes).

In the first half of 2022, there was a decrease in steel scrap usage among the key countries and regions of 8.4% to 248.789 million tonnes while related crude steel production was down -6.1% to 777.235 million tonnes. The steel scrap usage figure represents verified data for 81.9% of global crude steel production.

Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases fall 3%

The first half of 2022 brought a 3% decrease in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases to 12.480 million tonnes, although the country remained the world’s foremost steel scrap importer. Its main suppliers were the USA (+25.7% to 2.232 million tonnes), the Netherlands (-33.3% to 1.163 million tonnes) and the UK (-17.6% to 1.135 million tonnes).

The Republic of Korea was the world’s second-largest steel scrap importer in the first half of 2022 (+29.1% to 2.722 million tonnes), with its main suppliers being Japan (+17.8% to 1.703 million tonnes), the USA (+48.3% to 0.399 million tonnes) and Russia (+5.6% to 0.226 million tonnes).

India was the world’s third-largest steel scrap importer in the opening six months of 2022 (+0.3% to 2.673 million tonnes). Its main suppliers were the United Arab Emirates (+3.5% to 0.711 million tonnes), the USA (-11.9% to 0.208 million tonnes) and Singapore (-11.9% to 0.170 million tonnes).

In January-June 2022, steel scrap imports increased into Thailand (+19% to 0.947 million tonnes), Indonesia (+7.4% to 0.637 million tonnes) and Norway (+14.5% to 0.197 million tonnes). By contrast, import declines were posted for the first half of 2022 by the USA (-6.6% to 2.510 million tonnes), Taiwan (-9.7% to 1.463 million tonnes), Canada 

(-8.7% to 0.409 million tonnes), Malaysia (-67.6% to 0.252 million tonnes), China

(-61% to 0.128 million tonnes) and the UK (-54.5% to 0.112 million tonnes).

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

The USA regains position as world’s leading steel scrap exporter

Having lost top spot in 2014, the USA regained its position as the world’s leading steel scrap exporter in the first half of 2022 despite a 5.6% year-on-year decline in shipped volumes to 8.874 million tonnes. Leading buyers to increase their purchases were Mexico (+21.4% to 2.005 million tonnes), Turkey (+23.4% to 1.969 million tonnes), Bangladesh (+44.7% to 0.900 million tonnes) and the Republic of Korea (+34.7% to 0.357 million tonnes). Meanwhile, the opening half of 2022 brought a decrease in US steel scrap exports to Taiwan (-6% to 0.685 million tonnes), Vietnam (-37.3% to 0.539 million tonnes) and Canada (-10.1% to 0.419 million tonnes).                  

Increases in exports were recorded in the first six months of 2022 by Canada (+4.3% to 2.365 million tonnes), Singapore (+10.6% to 0.364 million tonnes), Norway (+4.8% to 0.308 million tonnes), Malaysia (+47.3% to 0.243 million tonnes) and Brazil (+27.6% to 0.231 million tonnes).

In January-June 2022, there was a sharp decline in steel scrap exports from the EU-27, now the world’s second-largest steel scrap exporter (-23.9% to 8.515 million tonnes); its main buyers were Turkey (-23.8% to 5.805 million tonnes), Egypt (-39.8% to 0.625 million tonnes), Switzerland (-9.4% to 0.318 million tonnes), Pakistan (-8.5% to 0.302 million tonnes) and Bangladesh (+514.6% to 0.295 million tonnes).

The largest EU-27 steel scrap exporter in the first half of 2022 was the Netherlands (-35.8% to 1.822 million tonnes). Over the same period, EU-27 internal steel scrap exports totalled 14.385 million tonnes for a year-on-year drop of 7.3%. Export declines were also recorded in the first half of 2022 by the UK (-0.8% to 4.104 million tonnes), Japan (-25.1% to 3.146 million tonnes) and Australia (-6% to 0.985 million tonnes).

Last but not least, I would like to extend my special thanks to Daniela Entzian, the BIR Ferrous Division’s Deputy Statistics Advisor, for her excellent co-operation.