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Big scrap metal importers cut back in 2014

Latest data on global steel recycling indicates that most importers cut their overseas purchases in 2014.

The information has been published in the sixth annual report on world steel recycling for the Bureau for International Recycling, which is meeting in Dubai.

The report concludes that the biggest volume fall in imports of secondary steel was 42.6% by China, underlining the country’s policy of buying more from domestic sources and reducing imports.

Turkey – the world’s foremost steel scrap importer – reduced its overseas purchases last year by 3.2%, following a drop of 12.0% in 2013.

Elsewhere there were falls for South Korea (13.6%), Taiwan (4.1%), the European Union (2.0%), Indonesia (10.9%) and Canada (12.9%).

On the other hand, imports rose in India (1.1%), the USA (8.6%) and Thailand (43.9%).

Rolf Willeke, BIR’s ferrous statistics adviser, noted that world crude steel production increased 1% last year to 1.665bn tonnes, based on Worldsteel figures.

In 2014, steel scrap consumption increases were reported in the EU (1.0%), China (3.0%), the US (5.1%) and Japan (0.6%) but down in Turkey (7.3%), South Korea (0.3%) and Russia (0.5%).

Globally, secondary materials made up 35% of total steel production and this included a figure of 54% for Europe, 70% for the US and nearly 11% for China.

Europe’s internal steel scrap exports totalled 30.153m tonnes last year (up 1.7% on 2013), a figure that BIR says confirms the active role of inter-EU trade in the raw materials supply chain in its steel industry.

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