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BIR Barcelona Convention: Ferrous Division: 13th edition of “World Steel Recycling in Figures” is released

  • 24 May 2022

At the BIR Ferrous Division meeting today in Barcelona, Divisional President Denis Reuter emphasizes his great pleasure in announcing the release of the 13th edition of “World Steel Recycling in Figures” - a compilation of important statistics relating to the global steel scrap markets which has been hugely well received ever since it first appeared in 2010.

Following a decision from the BIR Ferrous Division board, this latest edition features a new subtitle: “Steel Scrap - a Raw Material for Green Steelmaking”.

For an even more accurate appraisal of the market, the Ferrous Division wants to continue to

improve the ferrous scrap figures at its disposal, including the quarterly updates of the world statistics.

Rolf Willeke, BIR Ferrous Statistics Advisor, summarizes below the main news and findings contained in this 13th edition, which covers the five-year period from 2017 to 2021.

  • The new subtitle of our latest brochure highlights the importance of steel scrap use for green steelmaking. In the 11th edition, our own calculations and those of worldsteel concluded that, in 2019, 630 million tonnes of steel scrap was being recycled on an annual basis, thus preventing nearly 950 million tonnes of annual CO2 emissions that would have come from production via virgin sources.
  • Overall, the 13th edition of this report incorporates a total of 60 graphs and tables.
  • Included is a special overview (supported by graphs) of the three leading steel scrap importers. Flow charts have been prepared for the eight main steel scrap exporters - features which have received a particularly warm welcome. Four price graphs complete this 13th edition of the brochure.
  • Global crude steel production totalled 1.952 billion tonnes in 2021 - up 3.8% from the previous year. Data in our corresponding table show a decrease in China’s crude steel production last year (-3% to 1.033 billion tonnes), thereby reducing the country’s share of global production from 56.6% in 2020 to 53% in 2021. In contrast, increased crude steel production was registered in 2021 by the EU-27 (+15.4% to 152.575 million tonnes), Japan (+15.8% to 96.334 million tonnes), the USA (+18% to 85.791 million tonnes), Russia (+5% to 76.894 million tonnes), the Republic of Korea (+5% to 70.418 million tonnes), Turkey (+12.7% to 40.360 million tonnes) and Canada (+18.1% to 12.976 million tonnes).
  • According to worldsteel, global oxygen furnace production was almost unchanged last year on 1.381 billion tonnes whereas global electric furnace production was higher by 14.4% on 563 million tonnes. There were also increases in global electric furnace iron production (+ 1.2% to 1.346 billion tonnes) and in DRI production (+9.9% to 114.5 million tonnes).
  • According to our statistics, steel scrap consumption in China was 2.8% lower last year at 226.21 million tonnes, although the country remained the world’s largest scrap user owing to an 11.5% increase in its scrap-intensive electric furnace production. In contrast, increased steel scrap consumption was registered in the EU-27 (+16.7% to 87.853 million tonnes), the USA (+18.3% to 59.4 million tonnes), Turkey (+15.7% to 34.813 million tonnes), Japan (+19% to 34.727 million tonnes), Russia (+7% to 32.138 million tonnes) and the Republic of Korea (+9.5% to 28.296 million tonnes).
  • It is important to note that the steel scrap usage figures in our 13th edition represent verified data for 79.7% of global steelmaking in 2021.
  • Annual global ferrous scrap use in the world’s iron and steel foundries has been between 67 and 74.4 million tonnes in recent years.
  • According to Official Trade Statistics/WV Stahl, global external steel scrap trade - including internal EU-27 trade - amounted to 109.6 million tonnes last year (+9.7% compared to 2020).
  • Steel scrap imports
  • Last year brought an 11.4% year-on-year increase in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases to 24.992 million tonnes. The data for 2021 confirm Turkey’s position as the world’s foremost steel scrap importer. The country’s main supplier was the USA (-13.7% to 3.768 million tonnes).
  • The EU-27 took over as the world’s second-largest steel scrap importer (+31.1% to 5.367 million tonnes). The region’s main supplier was the UK (+26.8% to 1.633 million tonnes).
  • The world’s third-largest steel scrap importer last year was the USA (+17.1% to 5.262 million tonnes). The country’s main supplier was Canada (+18.2% to 3.757 million tonnes).
  • Also higher in 2021 were steel scrap imports into the Republic of Korea (+8.9% to 4.789 million tonnes), Thailand (+18% to 1.653 million tonnes), Malaysia (+9.8% to 1.533 million tonnes) and Indonesia (+3% to 1.462 million tonnes).
  • Conversely, steel scrap import declines were recorded by India (-4.6% to 5.133 million tonnes). Pakistan (-8.4% to 4.156 million tonnes), Belarus (-14.7% to 1.136 million tonnes and Canada (-21% to 0.815 million tonnes).
  • Steel scrap exports
    • The EU-27 was the world’s leading steel scrap exporter last year in growing its outbound shipments by 11.5% to 19.460 million tonnes, the main buyer being Turkey on 13.110 million tonnes (+11.3% year on year).
  • Last year also brought an increase in US overseas steel scrap shipments of 6.1% to 17.906 million tonnes; among the leading buyers to extend their purchases from the USA was Mexico (+51.4% to 3.142 million tonnes).
  • There were higher steel scrap exports last year from the UK (+21.4% to 8.287 million tonnes), Canada (+7.8% to 4.863 million tonnes), Australia (+6.9% to 2.224 million tonnes) and Singapore (+35.4% to 0.685 million tonnes) whereas declines in overseas shipments were registered by Japan (-22.1% to 7.301 million tonnes) and Russia (-12.4% to 4.140 million tonnes).
  • Most of the world’s leading steel scrap exporters are major net steel scrap exporters: last year’s export surplus was, for example, 14.1 million tonnes for the EU-27 and 12.6 million tonnes for the USA.
  • Over the past 13 years, “World Steel Recycling in Figures” has illustrated the worldwide use of steel scrap as a raw material in steelworks and foundries, while also underlining that steel scrap is an ecological raw material and an internationally-traded commodity subject to world market prices.
  • Mr Willeke extends his deep thanks to the BIR Ferrous Division board, the BIR Secretariat and to all those supporting this publication. He offers special thanks to Daniela Entzian, the BIR Ferrous Division’s Deputy Statistics Advisor, for her excellent co-operation.

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