EghtesadOnline: Iranian steel mills produced 4.46 million tons of steel in the first two months of 2018, up 48.9% compared with last year’s similar period, according to the latest report released by World Steel Association.
Iran’s steel output in February grew by 48.6% year-on-year to hit 2.12 million tons.
The Iranian steel industry had the fastest growth in production among all producers of more than 1 million tons of steel per month. Considering all producers, Iran is ranked fifth in terms of fastest annual and YOY growth in February respectively.
Iran is currently the world’s 10th largest producer of steel. The country is placed between Brazil (9th) with 5.58 million tons and Italy (11th) with 4.1 million tons, according to Financial Tribune.
The world’s 64 steelmakers produced 276.65 million tons of steel during the two months, up 4% YOY.
Global steel output stood at 131.79 million tons in February, indicating a 3.5% increase.
The crude steel capacity utilization ratio of 64 countries in February was 73.3%. This is 1.8% higher than February 2017. Compared to January 2018, it is 0.5% higher.
China remained the world’s largest producer during the period with 136.81 million tons of steel output, up 5.9% YOY. Chinese steel production hit 64.93 million tons in February to rise 5.9% YOY.
China was followed by India with 17.46 million tons, Japan with 17.32 million tons, the United States with 13.37 million tons, South Korea with 11.7 million tons, Russia with 10.85 million tons, Germany with 7.04 million tons and Turkey with 6.17 million tons.
Crude steel is defined as steel in its first solid (or usable) form: ingots, semi-finished products (billets, blooms and slabs). This is not to be confused with liquid steel, which is steel poured.
Iran’s steel output stood at 21.72 million tons in 2017, according to WSA, up 21.4% YOY. The country aims to become the world’s sixth largest steel producer as per the 20-Year Vision Plan, which targets annual production capacity of 55 million tons of steel and 20-25 million tons of exports per year by 2025. Iranian steel mills have so far realized more than 30 million tons of the capacity target.
Latest statistics by Iranian Steel Producers Association show that the country exported 7.41 million tons of steel during the 11 months of the last fiscal year (March 21, 2017-Feb. 19), posting a 52.2% YOY growth.
Semi-finished steel exports made up 6.04 million tons of the total figure, growing 87% YOY, while exports of finished steel products during the 11-month period shrank by 17% YOY to 1.37 million tons.
Also, Iran’s apparent steel usage for both semi-finished and finished steel recorded meager growth for the 11-month period. The country consumed 18.8 million tons of finished steel, up 7% YOY, and 14.02 million tons of semis, inching up 2%.
Iran’s DRI Growth Drives
Global output of direct-reduced iron increased by 7.7% YOY in February, driven by higher production in Iran.
Also called sponge iron, DRI is produced from the direct reduction of iron ore to iron by a reducing gas made from natural gas or coal. It is most commonly made into steel using electric arc furnaces. About 70-75% of Iranian mills use EAFs.
DRI output was 6.09 million tons in February, compared with 5.66 million tons in February 2017.
But DRI production fell by 5.87% month on month, compared with 6.47 million tons in January.
Iran increased its DRI output to 1.92 million tons in February, rising 52.26% YOY from 1.26 million tons last February.
The country’s plans to boost crude steel output have brought the industry to expand its DRI capacity. Iran produced 21.73 million tons of crude steel in 2017, according to Worldsteel.
In comparison, India’s DRI output fell by 10.05% YOY to 2.11 million tons in February, compared with 2.35 million tons in the year before, Metal Bulletin reported.
Metal Bulletin’s price assessment for Indian domestic DRI was 21,100-21,300 rupees ($324-327) per ton ex-works on March 23, down from 21,300-21,700 rupees per ton the week before.
February DRI production also fell year-on-year in Mexico, Saudi Arabia and the UAE.