EghtesadOnline: Steel consumption in Iran is growing against all odds.
Iran's apparent steel usage—defined as production plus imports minus exports, sometimes also adjusted for changes in inventories—during the first seven months of the current Iranian year (March 20-Oct. 21) stood at 13.74 million tons for semi-finished products, registering a 13% increase compared with last year's corresponding period.
Apparent usage stood at 11.93 million tons for finished products, posting a 20% increase year-on-year, according to the Iranian Steel Producers Association.
Flat steel products accounted for the largest portion of finished steel consumption with 5.4 million tons, up 12% YOY.
Among flat steel products, hot-rolled coil had the biggest share of apparent usage with 5.22 million tons (up 8% YOY), followed by cold-rolled coil with 1.69 million tons (up 13% YOY) and coated coil with 990,000 tons (unchanged compared with the same period of last year).
Long steel products accounted for 5.5 million tons of finished steel apparent usage, up 34% YOY.
Rebar grabbed the biggest share in this section with 4.45 million tons, up 39% YOY, followed by beams with 660,000 tons (up 25% YOY) and L-beam, T-beam and other types with 389,000 tons (unchanged compared with the same period of last year).
As for semis, the apparent usage of "billet and bloom" together amounted to 7.78 million tons, up 10% YOY. Usage of slab also increased by 18% to 6.01 million tons during the first seven months of the year.
DRI usage was up 15% to 17.92 million tons.
Taking into account the ongoing stagnation in the country's economy, especially in civil projects and construction sector, many experts believe that the rise in apparent usage is mostly due to speculative activities and hoarding.
Chilanonline, a specialized news website, claims that the rise might be because of the growth in illegal steel exports. Based on the regulations, manufacturers of steel products are required to supply domestic market up to set ceiling before they can export their products.
23% Decline in Exports
A total of 4.53 million tons of finished and semi-finished steel products were exported from Iran during the seven months under review to register a 23.5% decline year-on-year, the Iranian Steel Producers Association reported.
Semi-finished steel made up 3.19 million tons of the total export volume, down 16% YOY.
Billet and bloom had the lion’s share of semis exports with a total of 2.451 million tons, even though the sum was 6% lower than 2.6 million tons in the previous corresponding period. Slab came next with 740,000 tons, down 39% YOY.
Exports of finished steel products declined by 37% to 1.34 million tons during the first seven months of the year.
Rebar accounted for the largest portion of finished steel products exported from Iran during the seven-month period, with 834,000 tons. This is while the total volume of Iran rebar exports experienced a 40% fall compared with the same period of last year.
Hot-rolled coil came next with 235,000 tons, registering a 20% decrease compared with the first seven months of the previous fiscal year.
Beams exports amounted to 95,000 tons during the period under review, down 10% YOY. Nearly 104,000 tons of "L-beam, T-beam and other types" were also exported from Iran during the seven-month period, recording a 44% decline YOY.
Coated coil with 52,000 tons, down 54% YOY, and cold-rolled coil with 25,000 tons, down 71% YOY, were other finished steel products exported from Iran.
Exports of direct-reduced iron dropped by 72% YOY to 184,000 tons, ISPA figures show.
50% Rise in Imports
Unlike exports, imports of finished and semi-finished steel products increased during the period under review compared with last year’s corresponding period. The ISPA report shows steel imports stood at 486,000 tons, up 50% YOY.
Semis imports, which only consisted of billet and bloom, made up 4,000 tons of the total figure, unchanged compared with the same period of last year. Billet and bloom imports amounted to 3,000 tons, up 50%, whereas the import of slab decreased by 50 to 1,000 tons.
Imports of finished steel jumped by 6507% YOY to 482,000 tons. The imports mostly included HRC with 179,000 tons, up 281%; coated coil with 134,000 tons, up 2%; CRC with 123,000 tons, up 48%; L-beam, T-beam and other types with 24,000 tons, down 20%; rebar with 15,000 tons, down 35%; and beams with 7,000 tons, unchanged, compared with the same period of last year's figures.
7% Growth in Production
Iranian steelmakers produced a total of 29.77 million tons of semi-finished and finished steel products during the first seven months of the current fiscal year (March 20-Oct. 21) to register a 7.34% year-on-year increase.
According to the Iranian Steel Producers Association’s latest report, semis accounted for 16.981 million tons of the total output, up 6% YOY.
Billet and bloom made up 10.23 million tons of semi-finished production whereas slab output hit 6.75 million tons to register a 6% and 7% YOY rise respectively.
The output of finished steel increased by 9% YOY to 12.793 million tons.
Long steel products had a 6.49 million-ton share in the output of finished steel products, posting a 14% growth YOY.
Rebar production stood at 5.27 million tons (up 15% YOY). It was followed by beams with 748,000 tons (up 20% YOY) and L-beam, T-beam and other types with 469,000 tons (down 3% YOY).
Production of flat steel picked up during the seven-month period, increasing 4% year-on-year to 6.298 million tons.
Hot-rolled coil made up 5.28 million tons of production in this category, showing a 4% rise compared with the similar period of last year, followed by cold-rolled coil with 1.594 tons to register a 6% YOY rise and coated coil with 908,000 tons (down 7%).