BIR Convention: EuRIC official warns of political iceberg

The Ferrous Division of the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling has released the 13th edition of its “World Steel Recycling in Figures”, which contains global steel and scrap trade figures for the years 2017 to 2021. Statistics for 2021 showed that despite trade policy and supply chain disruptions, cross-border trade in scrap metal increased last year.

The print edition of the 44-page booklet was distributed at the BIR Ferrous Division meeting in late May in Barcelona by BIR Ferrous Statistical Advisor Rolf Willeke and Ferrous Division President Denis Reuter of German company TSR Recycling . The 2021 edition also contains a new subtitle: “Steel Scrap – a Raw Material for Green Steelmaking”.

Citing “official trade statistics” and the German steel federation WV Stahl, the BIR says that the world’s foreign trade in steel scrap – including trade between EU countries – amounted to 109.6 million metric tons last year, an increase of 9.7 over 2020.

Last year, Turkey was again the world’s largest scrap metal importer, bringing in just under 25 million metric tons, or 11.4% more than in 2020, according to the BIR. The country’s main supplier was the United States, from which it reserved 3.77 million metric tons (down 13.7% from 2020 volume).

Brexit has changed the dynamics of the scrap metal trade in the EU. In 2021, the EU-27 became the world’s second largest importer of scrap steel, increasing its import volume by 31.1% to over 5.36 million metric tonnes. The region’s new main supplier was the UK, which supplied more than 1.63 million tonnes of scrap metal to its former EU compatriots.

The United States was the world’s third-largest importer of scrap metal last year, contributing more than 5.26 million metric tons. The majority of this waste (3.75 million metric tonnes, or 71%) originated in Canada.

Countries with growing appetite for scrap metal in 2021 include South Korea (up 8.9% to almost 4.8 million metric tons); Thailand (+18% to 1.65 million metric tons); Malaysia (+9.8% to 1.53 million metric tons); and Indonesia (+3% to 1.46 million metric tons).

Countries buying less scrap from overseas in 2021 included India (-4.6% to 5.13 million metric tons); Pakistan (-8.4% to 4.16 million metric tons); Belarus (-14.7% to 1.14 million metric tons; and Canada (-21% to 815,000 metric tons).

Although China is by far the largest steel producer in the world in 2021, the BIR says its statistics indicate that scrap consumption in the country was 2.8% lower last year. Nevertheless, the 226.2 million metric tonnes consumed there means the country remains the largest user of scrap metal in the world, thanks in part to an 11.5% increase in electric arc furnace (EAF) production. scrap-intensive.

Steelmakers in EU-27 countries increased their scrap consumption by 16.7% (to 87.85 million metric tons) in 2021. In the United States, steelmakers melted 18.3% of scrap in more, reaching 59.4 million metric tons of consumption.

Scrap surplus countries and regions with active export markets included the EU-27 as the world’s largest exporter of steel scrap in 2021. It increased its outbound shipments by 11.5% last year, shipping 19.46 million metric tons, with Turkey buying 13.1 million metric tons. , or 67% of the total.

U.S. export activity grew 6.1% last year, reaching 17.9 million metric tons. Its largest buyer was an inland destination, with Mexico acquiring 3.14 million metric tons, or 17.5% of that total.

The brochure also offers steel production statistics compiled by the Brussels-based World Steel Association (Wordlsteel). The member countries of this organization contributed to a global crude steel production of 1.952 billion metric tons in 2021.

China’s steel output fell 3% in 2021 from a year earlier, but it still accounted for 56.6% of Worldsteel’s total output.

Steel production increased in many other countries in 2021 compared to the previous year, including in the EU-27 (+15.4%); Japan (+15.8%); India (+17.9%); the United States (+18%); Russia (+5%); South Korea (+5%); Turkey (+12.7%); and Canada (+18.1%).

Additionally, according to Worldsteel, global basic oxygen furnace (BOF) production was essentially flat last year at 1.381 billion metric tons. EAF production, on the other hand, increased by 14.4% compared to 2020, reaching 563 million metric tons.

The 13th edition of the BIR brochure “World Steel Recycling in Figures” can be viewed on this webpage.

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