BIR publishes 12th Edition of “World Steel Recycling in Figures”

  • 15 June 2021

Following a dedicated webinar on the occasion of the recent 2021 World Recycling Convention & Exhibition (online edition), BIR announces today the publication of the 12th Edition of “World Steel Recycling in Figures” authored by the BIR Ferrous Division’s Statistics Advisor Rolf Willeke.

Divisional President Greg Schnitzer emphasizes his great pleasure in unveiling the 12th Edition of “World Steel Recycling in Figures” - a compilation of important statistics relating to the global steel scrap markets which has received a hugely positive reception since it appeared for the first time in 2010.

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.

Mr Willeke summarizes below the main news and findings contained in this report, which covers the five-year period from 2016 to 2020:

  • Overall, the 12th Edition of the report incorporates a total of 60 graphs and tables.
  • It includes 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 12th Edition of the publication.
  • Global crude steel production totalled 1.877 billion tonnes in 2020 - up 0.1% from the previous year. According to worldsteel, crude steel production increased in Asia and the Middle East last year. Worldwide oxygen furnace production increased by 2.2% to 1.373 billion tonnes whereas the global electric furnace total fell by 5.7% to 493 million tonnes. Also last year, there was a decrease in global blast furnace iron production (-0.6% to 1.313 billion tonnes) and also in DRI production (-7% to 85.7 million tonnes).
  • Steel scrap consumption climbed a noteworthy 2% in China last year to 220.3 million tonnes. This compares to 215.9 million tonnes in 2019 and underlines China’s position as the world’s largest steel scrap user.
  • In 2020, there was also an increase in steel scrap use for steelmaking in Turkey (+7.8% to 30.077 million tonnes). Conversely, there were decreases for the EU-28 (-10.3% to 77.539 million tonnes), the USA (-17.6% to 50 million tonnes), Russia (-0.8% to 29.929 million tonnes), Japan (-13.4% to 29.179 million tonnes) and the Republic of Korea (-9.7% to 25.831 million tonnes). Last year, growth in the proportion of steel scrap used in steel production was recorded in Turkey (to 84.1%), the EU-28 (to 55.7%) and Japan (to 35.1%). In contrast, there were declines in the USA (to 68.8%), Russia (to 41.9%), the Republic of Korea (to 38.5%) and China (to 20.7%).
  • In 2020, there was a decrease to 462.9 million tonnes in the amount of steel scrap used by the seven key countries and regions (-4.3% compared to 2019). Overall, the statistics in this report reflect the negative influence of the Coronavirus pandemic on global steel scrap use and crude steel output in 2020.
  • Considering the major importance of China to the world ferrous markets, we have created a short overview of its new steel masterplan which contains six key points. Among other objectives, China aims to reduce carbon emissions by cutting its steel output from 2021. The country is also planning to raise its scrap charge ratio to 30%.
  • Global annual ferrous scrap use in the world’s iron and steel foundries amounted to almost 70 million tonnes.
  • According to Official Trade Statistics/WV Stahl, global external steel scrap trading - including internal EU-28 trade - totalled 99.3 million tonnes last year (-1.3% compared to 2019).
  • Steel scrap imports
    • Last year brought a 19% year-on-year increase in Turkey’s overseas steel scrap purchases to 22.435 million tonnes. The data for 2020 confirm Turkey’s position as the world’s foremost steel scrap importer. The country’s main supplier was the USA (+13.8% to 4.368 million tonnes).
    • India was the world’s second-largest steel scrap importer (-23.7% to 5.383 million tonnes). The country’s top supplier was the United Arab Emirates (-28% to 0.830 million tonnes).
    • New to the position of the world’s third-largest steel scrap importer last year was the USA (+5.7% to 4.512 million tonnes). The country’s main supplier was Canada (+6.1% to 3.178 million tonnes).
    • Also higher in 2020 were steel scrap imports into Taiwan (+2.6% to 3.616 million tonnes) and Mexico (+43.4% to 2.126 million tonnes). In contrast, import declines were recorded by the Republic of Korea (-32.3% to 4.398 million tonnes), the EU-28 (-2.1% to 2.866 million tonnes) and Indonesia (-45.7% to 1.420 million tonnes).
    • No figures for Pakistan, Malaysia and Belarus were available ahead of our editorial deadline.
  • Steel scrap exports
    • The EU-28 remained the world’s leading steel scrap exporter last year in growing its
      - outbound shipments by 4% to 22.627 million tonnes. Its major buyer was Turkey (+ 17.5% to 14.055 million tonnes).
    • Last year brought a decrease in US overseas steel scrap shipments of 4.6% to 16.874 million tonnes. Its leading buyer was also Turkey (+3% to 4.032 million tonnes).
    • There were higher steel scrap exports last year from Japan (+22.6% to 9.387 million tonnes), Russia (+15.3% to 4.728 million tonnes), Canada (+3.2% to 4.512 million tonnes) and Brazil (+6.2% to 0.732 million tonnes) whereas declines in overseas shipments were registered by Australia (-10% to 2.093 million tonnes) and Hong Kong (-36.8% to 0.607 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, 19.8 million tonnes for the EU-28 and 12.4 million tonnes for the USA.
  • Over the past 10 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 Board, to 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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