COMMENT: Southeast Asia toys with protectionism

May 30, 2012 | 06:57 AM |

Never mind the eurozone debt crisis.
For just a while, forget about talk of China having a hard or soft landing.
In Southeast Asia, where economic growth is still robust and steel consumption is still growing fast, the steel industry had plenty to cheer at its annual gathering in Bali this week.
Steel consumption in Southeast Asia crossed 50 million tonnes for the first time in 2011.
The 10 countries’ economies which form the Assn of Southeast Asia Nations (Asean) are expected to grow at a combined 5.6% this year.
Steel consumption in some of these countries could rise as much as 10%, according to figures from the South East Asia Iron and Steel Institute (Seaisi), which hosted the Bali event.
Meanwhile, foreign investment continues to pour in.
Taiwan's Formosa Plastics Group and China Steel Corp are building a 22.5 million tpy integrated steel plant – the region’s largest – in Vietnam. It is set for completion by 2020.
The first stage of Indonesia’s Krakatau Steel’s joint venture 3 million tpy integrated steel plant with South Korea’s Posco is set for commissioning in a year’s time.
For the first time, the region’s steel industry also welcomed Myanmar, a rising hotspot with plenty of potential.....

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