SINGAPORE Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) member states consumed 56.4 million tonnes of steel last year, up 7.6 percent vs. 2011, as imports took a bigger share of the market.
The biggest percentage increases were reported by Thailand (13.9 percent), Vietnam (9.9 percent) and Indonesia (8.8 percent), according to the Southeast Asia Iron and Steel Institute.
Malaysia and the Philippines both saw marginal gains of 1.7 and 2.2 percent, respectively, while steel demand in Singapore fell 4.9 percent year on year in 2012.
The increase came even as steel output fell 2 percent to 25.5 million tonnes last year, with every Asean country except the Philippines recording a drop.
Imports rose 8 percent year on year to 36.9 million tonnes in 2012.
Half of the semifinished imports into the region came from Russia, whose volumes rose by 1 million tonnes, followed by Ukraine.
Steel product imports from China also jumped in 2012, with long steels up at least twofold, sections jumping 70 percent, and bar and wire rod more than doubling to over 1 million tonnes. China was also the principal source of hot-rolled plate imports, but the volume rose only 3 percent to around 1 million tonnes.
Imports from Japan rose 10 percent to 800,000 tonnes. Japan, accounting for 40 percent of total imports, was the largest source of hot-rolled coil. Import from the nation rose 15 percent vs. 2011, followed by South Korea and China, up 8 percent and 45 percent, respectively.
Imports of cold-rolled coil from Japan, the largest supplier, fell 7 percent year on year, while those from China rose 20 percent.
Imports of coated steel, with Japan again the largest supplier, were virtually unchanged. However, imports from China rose 40 percent year on year to a level nearly matching Japan.
Exports from the region fell 22 percent year on year to 6 million tonnes in 2012, with all nations in the region except Singapore registering declines.
A version of this article was first published by AMM sister publication Steel First.