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China’s steel scrap exports said to be ‘only a temporary phenomenon’

Asia – The recent steel scrap exports out of China were likely to be short-lived, it was generally agreed at last week’s BIR world recycling convention in Hong Kong.

Closure of induction furnaces in China has created displaced volumes of scrap, some of which have been dispatched to a number of other Asian countries – including India, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan – even though a 40% export duty is in place, it was reported by ferrous division board member Tom Bird of Liberty Steel in the UK.

Ferrous division president William Schmiedel of US-based Sims Management Global Trade suspected these flows would be ‘a temporary phenomenon’ given the good potential to melt significantly higher volumes of scrap within China over the coming years.

This opinion was echoed by Li Shubin, secretary general of the China Association of Metal Scrap Utilization, who told the World Council of Recycling Associations meeting in Hong Kong that the exports would be ‘only temporary’.

Official figures indicate that China consumed around 90 million tonnes of steel scrap last year. According to Li, this figure will rise to 150 million tonnes by 2020 as China pursues a 30% scrap ratio by 2025.

The country’s scrap utilisation per tonne of crude steel produced was 111 kg last year.

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