EghtesadOnline: With an output of about 6.2 million tons, Mobarakeh Steel Company had the largest share of steel production in Iran during the first four months of the current fiscal year (March 20-July 21).
The steel mill produced 2.81 million tons of finished products during the period and registered a 4% decline compared with last year’s corresponding period.
More than 3.38 million tons of semi-finished products were produced by MSC, up 9% year-on-year, the Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization’s latest report shows.
MSC’s total output over the month ending July exceeded 1.47 million tons: 684,559 tons of finished steel, down 2% YOY; in addition to 785,853 tons of semi-finished steel, up 7% compared with the corresponding period of last year.
Located in southwestern Isfahan, Mobarakeh Steel Company is the biggest steel producer in Iran and the Middle East and North Africa region.
In terms of finished steel production, MSC was followed by Esfahan Steel Company (ESCO) with 776,695 tons (without a YOY change), Khouzestan Oxin Steel Company with 305,986 tons (up 4% YOY), Khorasan Steel Company with 155,493 tons (down 28% YOY), Azarbaijan Steel Company with 129,118 tons (up 3% YOY) and Bonab Steel Company with 118,740 tons during the four months under review.
In terms of semis, MSC was followed by KSC with over 1.35 million tons (up 4% YOY), Esfahan Steel Company with 782,350 tons (down 4% YOY), Chadormalu Steel Company with 328,149 tons (down 5% YOY), South Kaveh Steel Company with 324,090 tons (down 17% YOY), Khorasan Steel Company with 297,085 tons (down 18% YOY), Arfa Steel Company with 268,574 tons (down 10% YOY) and Sirjan Jahan Steel Company with 266,589 tons.
The above-mentioned steelmakers, considered heavyweight manufacturers in Iran, produced close to 12.28 million tons of steel (semis and finished) during the four months under review.
A total of 4.8 million tons of finished steel products, including hot- and cold-rolled coils, rebar, beams, pipes, wide and galvanized sheets, were produced by these steel mills during the period to register a 2% YOY rise.
They produced 7.48 million tons of semi-finished steel, including ingot, bloom and billet, during the period to witness an 8% rise YOY.
The total volume of steel production in Iran, including the output of small-scale producers, is more than the quoted figure. A comprehensive report on total steel production will be released in the coming days.
World's 10th Biggest Steelmaker
Iran is currently the world’s 10th biggest crude steel producer.
Iranian steel mills produced 13.89 million tons of crude steel during the first half of 2020 to register a 10.2% rise compared with the corresponding period of 2019, the latest report released by the World Steel Association shows.
Based on the report, the country is placed between Brazil (ninth) with 14.24 million tons of production in H1 and Vietnam (11th) with 10.85 million tons.
Iran’s June output stood at 2.43 million tons to witness a year-on-year growth of 5.3%, according to the Brussels-based international trade body for the iron and steel industry.
Iran aims to become the world’s sixth largest steel producer as per the 20-Year Vision Plan, which targets annual production capacity expansion to 55 million tons and 20-25 million tons of exports per year by 2025.
The country’s current steel production capacity stands at over 37.5 million tons per year.
The country’s steel production capacity is expected to reach 43.6 million tons by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2021), while the actual production is estimated to hit 31.1 million tons to utilize 71% of the nominal capacity, according to IMIDRO.
Iran’s crude steel output stood at 31.9 million tons in 2019, according to Worldsteel, up 30.1% YOY.
The US has broadened the scope of its sanctions on steel, stainless steel, aluminum and copper trade with Iran to stop imports into the country of specialized metals that it says could be used in Iran's nuclear, ballistic missile and military programs, S&P Global Platts reported.
Most of the products had already been targeted by secondary sanctions against Iran, previously published by the US. The latest list gives more detailed descriptions of some of the products previously included in more general categories.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo late July 30 announced that the US State Department has identified 22 specific materials that it alleges are used in connection with Iran's nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs.
"Those who knowingly transfer such materials to Iran are now sanctionable pursuant to Section 1245 of the Iranian Freedom and Counter-Proliferation Act," Pompeo said in a statement.
The sanctions also cover trade in graphite and raw or semi-finished metals, which may be used in Iran's construction sector, which according to the US is controlled by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps.
"The IRGC's construction firm and many of its subsidiaries remain sanctioned by the United Nations because they were directly involved in the construction of the uranium enrichment site at Fordow," Pompeo said.
The 22 products included on the new sanctions list, deemed to be used in connection with Iran's nuclear, military, or ballistic missile programs, are: aluminum 319, 1100, 225, 6061, 6063, 6082 and 7075; aluminum bronze alloy UNS C63600 (CDA alloy 636); aluminum oxide (Al2O3); steel 302, 4130; stainless steel 321 and 316; A877 steel and A228 steel,100Cr6-52100 steel, 350 maraging steel (also known as maraging steel350); 300 maraging steel (also known as maraging steel300); UNS Cl7200-TDO1 (beryllium copper); UNS C37000–CuZn38Pb1; tungsten copper and aluminum powder with purity above 98%, Pompeo stated.
No official reaction was available from Iran on July 31 due to a local holiday. However, an informed Iranian observer told S&P Global Platts that "the new sanctions are not taken very seriously because all of the metals were previously under the OFAC [Office of Foreign Assets Control] sanctions".
Supply and trade of steel, aluminum, graphite and coal with Iran have been restricted by US secondary sanctions from August 2019, but Iran's metals and minerals export trade has continued since then. In fact, its steel exports have increased as they are competitive. Secondary sanctions mean that any third parties involved in that trade are subject to US sanctions.
No information was given on the current suppliers of these products to Iran and the Iranian observer consulted said he was unable to specify origins, as this is classified information within Iran.
Following the previous imposition of secondary metals trade sanctions, the US stepped up its sanctions on Iran in the steel area in January 2020, imposing sanctions on exports from most of Iran's steelmakers and international steel traders that have links to Iran.
Iranian sources said at the time that Iran's steel and metals trade had carried on largely as normal in spite of both of these sets of sanctions, as much of the metals trade with Iran is with Chinese, other Asian and Middle Eastern parties that have not considered the US sanctions to be applicable to their activities.
Much international metals trade with Iran is channeled and paid for via traders in offshore locations, including Dubai, with those involved reportedly often turning a blind eye to details on suppliers and end-customers, so long as the product is of acceptable quality and price.