A recent report by the South East Asia Iron and Steel Institute (SEAISI) noted a rise in steel exports from Indonesia, Vietnam, and Malaysia in 2019 and 2020. In 2019, the ASEAN region exported about 15mn mt of finished steel against 50mn mt in imports. Exports of semi-finished products increased as well, with China being a major market. Indonesia and Vietnam are focused on flat steel products while Malaysia is working on its long steel front.
Vietnam’s steel consumption in 2019 stood at 24mn mt. The country doubled its steel exports to 2mn mt in 2019 compared to two years ago. Major destinations for longs products in 2019 include Cambodia, at 1mn mt, followed by Thailand, and Afghanistan. Major destinations for flat steel exports include the US, Canada, and Pakistan followed by ASEAN countries such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, flat steel export volumes in January-July 2020 were slightly subdued over the same period in 2019.
Indonesia’s largely self-sufficient consumption of flat and long steel amounted to 16mn mt in 2019. However, it still imports about 5-6mn mt of flat steel annually. Indonesia exports wire rod to Bangladesh and Australia with significant seamless pipe exports to Kuwait, UAE, and Singapore. Exports of flat steel increased by 50pc to 3mn mt in 2019, over the previous year, with 80-90pc of the coils being stainless steel. Hot-rolled coil (HRC) accounted for 60pc of flat steel exports followed by 26pc hot rolled plate, and cold-rolled coil (CRC) at 13pc. Flat stainless-steel products are exported predominantly to other ASEAN countries. In January-July 2020, stainless HRC exports declined by 22pc to 717,000mt on an annual basis, while China imports nearly 50pc of Indonesia’s CRC.
Malaysia’s 2019 steel consumption was 9.2mn mt. Local producers covered most of this consumption. However, long steel imports trended to 2-3mn mt annually. Malaysia became a notable exporter in 2019 with 1.9mn mt of long steel exports, with wire rod accounting for 70pc of this trade. Wire rod exports increased by 54pc to 2mn mt in the in January-July 2020 against the same period a year ago. Bar exports, primarily destined to China, hit 1mn mt in the first seven months in 2020, surging from 324,000mt in the full year of 2019.