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Kallanish Kallanish

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June, 26th 2019

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AUG 22

Saudi iron ore, DRI imports drop in May


Saudi Arabian imports of iron ore, mainly pellet used for direct reduced iron production, declined -23% on-year in May to 424,558 tonnes, according to General Authority for Statistics data monitored by Kallanish.

Swedish supply to Saudi was more or less flat on-year in May at 175,765t, but supply from Oman dropped -30% to 241,162t.

Saudi imports of DRI, meanwhile, fell -17% in May to 139,370t. Although Oman supplied 55,000t versus zero in May 2017, this was offset by a halving in imports from Bahrain to 53,683t, while intake from Qatar fell to zero versus 30,000t.

In the five months through May Saudi iron ore imports thus fell -13% on-year to 2.44 million tonnes. Intake from Oman declined -5% to 1.46mt, while supply from Sweden dropped -33% to 695,537t. Canada supplied zero versus 200,198t last year.

Five-month DRI imports nevertheless still rose 17% to 851,905t. This came as Bahrain supplied 21% more at 334,030t, while intake from Oman rose 36% to 305,123t. Supply from Qatar fell to zero versus 71,999t last year.

Crude steel production at Saudi Arabia’s largest steelmaker, Sabic, rebounded 37.8% in May to 447,000t, but five-month output was still down -1.5% to 2.09mt, according to worldsteel data.

Besides the Gulf Cooperation Council’s raising of rebar and wire rod import duty to 10% from mid-June, Saudi mills have been boosted by the resumption in January of billet exports after a nine-year hiatus. This followed the resumption of rebar and wire rod exports a few months earlier. Saudi exported 153,825t of billet in January-May, as well as 142,855t of wire rod and 129,729t of rebar.