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Kallanish Kallanish

Knowledge matters Knowledge matters

February, 22nd 2019

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JAN 25
14:11

Middle East production finishes year strongly

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Crude steel output in the four Middle Eastern countries covered by worldsteel’s monthly report rose an estimated 13.9% on-year in December to 3.22 million tonnes.

Production at Saudi Arabia’s largest steelmaker, Hadeed, registered a double-digit increase for a third consecutive month, rising 34.9% in December to 468,000t. Output in full-year 2018 thus rose 8.4% on-year to 5.24mt.

Saudi mills have been boosted by the resumption last year of billet exports after a nine-year hiatus. This followed the resumption of rebar and wire rod exports in late 2017.

Production in the region’s largest producer, Iran, rose an estimated 14.1% in December to 2.26mt, taking 2018 output up 17.7% to an annual record 25mt.

According to Iranian Steel Producers’ Association (ISPA) data, Iranian apparent finished steel consumption fell -5% in the nine months through 21 December 2018 to 14.51mt. This deepened from a -4% fall after eight months. Billet and slab exports dropped -11% and -32% respectively to 2.3mt and 1.38mt.

United Arab Emirates crude steel output, of which almost 90% is accounted for by Emirates Steel, increased 2.4% in December to 292,000t, but 2018 production fell -1.9% to 3.25mt. The UAE rebar market has been suffering from a marked slowdown since the second half of 2018. A recent doubling of rebar and wire rod customs duty, meanwhile, is unlikely to have a material impact due to the low tonnages of imports.

Qatari crude steel output fell -6.5% in December to 202,000t, meaning 2018 output was down -2.6% to 2.58mt.

Middle Eastern crude steel output in 2018 thus rose 12.6% to 36.06mt, Kallanish learns from worldsteel.

Meanwhile, Egyptian crude steel output grew 1.6% in December to 670,000t and by 13.6% in 2018 to 7.81mt.