EghtesadOnline: Atotal of 6.45 million tons of finished and semi-finished steel products were exported from Iran during the first three quarters of the current fiscal year (March 21-Dec. 20) to register a 17.18% decline year-on-year, the Iranian Steel Producers Association reported.
Semi-finished steel made up 4.475 million tons of the total export volume, down 12% YOY.
Billet and bloom had the lion’s share of semis exports with a total of 3.44 million tons, even though the sum was 2% lower than previous corresponding period's 3.52 million tons.
Slab followed with 1.02 million tons, down 33% YOY. Iranian steelmakers exported 1.54 million tons of slab during the same period of the previous year.
Exports of finished steel products also declined by 27% to 1.98 million tons during the first nine months of the year.
Rebar accounted for the largest portion of finished steel products exported from Iran during the nine-month period, with 1.226 million tons. This is while the total volume of Iran rebar exports experienced a 30% fall compared with the same period of last year.
Hot-rolled coil came next with 387,000 tons, registering a 9% decline compared with the first nine months of the previous year.
Beams exports amounted to 138,000 tons during the period under review, down 5% YOY. Nearly 147,000 tons of "L-beam, T-beam and other types" were also exported from Iran during the nine-month period, recording a 15% decline YOY.
Coated coil with 59,000 tons, down 55% YOY, and cold-rolled coil with 25,000 tons, down 75% YOY, were the other finished steel products exported from Iran.
Exports of direct-reduced iron dropped by 45% YOY to 453,000 tons, ISPA figures show.
Unlike exports, imports of finished and semi-finished steel products n increased during the period under review compared with last year’s corresponding period. The ISPA report shows steel imports stood at 685,000 tons, up 73% YOY.
Semis imports, which only consisted of billet and bloom, made up 4,000 tons of the total figure, up 33% compared with the same period of last year. Billet and bloom imports amounted to 3,000 tons, up 50% whereas the import of slab remained unchanged at 1,000 tons.
Imports of finished steel jumped 77% YOY to 615,000 tons. The imports mostly included HRC with 267,000 tons, up 299%; coated coil with 178,000 tons, up 2%; CRC with 170,000 tons, up 59%; L-beam, T-beam and other types with 36,000 tons, up 260%; rebar with 22,000 tons, down 15%; and beams with 8,000 tons, unchanged compared with the same period of last year's figures.
Increase in Production
Iranian steelmakers produced a total of 39.638 million tons of semi-finished and finished steel products during the first nine months of the current fiscal year (March 20-Dec. 20) to register an 11.2% year-on-year increase.
According to the Iranian Steel Producers Association’s latest report, semis accounted for 23.026 million tons of the total output, up 12% YOY.
Billet and bloom made up 14.270 million tons of semi-finished production whereas slab output hit 8.75 million tons to register a 15% and 9% YOY rise, respectively.
The output of finished steel increased by 10% YOY to 16.613 million tons.
Long steel products had an 8.694 million-ton share in the output of finished steel products, posting a 14% growth YOY.
Rebar production stood at 7.11 million tons (up 15% YOY). It was followed by beams with 971,000 tons (up 18% YOY) and L-beam, T-beam and other types with 615,000 tons (down 1% YOY).
Production of flat steel picked up during the nine-month period, increasing by 5% year-on-year to 7.91 million tons.
Hot-rolled coil made up 6.6 million tons of the production in this category, showing a 6% rise compared with the similar period of last year, followed by cold-rolled coil with 2.04 million tons to register a 4% YOY rise and coated coil with 1.193 tons (down 4%).
Apparent Usage up 20%
Iran's apparent steel usage—defined as production plus imports minus exports, sometimes also adjusted for changes in inventories—during the first three quarters of the current Iranian year amounted to 18.555 million tons for semi-finished products, registering a 20% increase compared with last year's corresponding period.
Apparent usage totaled 13.998 million tons for finished products, posting a 21% increase year-on-year.
Flat steel products accounted for the largest portion of finished steel consumption with 6.74 million tons, up 13% YOY.
Among flat steel products, hot-rolled coil had the biggest share of apparent usage with 6.48 million tons (up 10% YOY), followed by cold-rolled coil with 2.18 million tons (up 11% YOY) and coated coil with 1.312 million tons (up 2% compared with the same period of last year).
Long steel products accounted for 7.25 million tons of finished steel apparent usage, up 30% YOY.
Rebar grabbed the biggest share in this section with 5.9 million, up 33% YOY, followed by beams with 841,000 tons (up 23% YOY) and L-beam, T-beam and other types with 504,000 tons (up 10% compared with the same period of the last year).
As for semis, apparent usage of billet and bloom together reached 10.82 million tons, up 22% YOY. Usage of slab also increased by 19% to 7.73 million tons during the first nine months of the year.
DRI usage was up 11% to 22.9 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. As per the regulations, steelmakers are required to supply domestic market up to specified extents, in case they want to export their products.