The South East Asia Iron and Steel Institute said that the ASEAN 6 countries long steel recovered marginally by 1% YoY to 35.1 million tonnes in 2021 as production jumped 9% YoY to 35.3 million tonnes and import surged by 7% YoY and export increased to exceed 10 million tonnes in 2021.
Among the six ASEAN countries, Singapore’s long steel demand registered a significant growth of 42% YoY to 1.5 million tonnes in 2021. However, the demand was still lower than pre-pandemic levels. The significant increase in long steel demand was obviously due to the recovery in construction sector, driven mainly by public residential and infrastructure projects. Most of construction activities which were suspended during the Circuit Breaker in 2020 were resumed in 2021. Domestic production reached the pre-pandemic level to nearly 600,000 tonnes. Import registered 1.5 million tonnes, an increase of 18% y-o-y export continued to decline from 800,000 tonnes before the pandemic to half a million tonnes in 2021.
Philippines’s resumed their Build Build Build programme, boosting long steel demand to nearly 6 million tonnes, although the level was still lower than the peak of 7.3 million tonnes in 2018. The government’s spending plan on infrastructure is expected to continue to increase over the next years since construction industry has a lot of room of improvement. Actual public construction spending in 2021 was 5.8% and the budget will increase to 7% from 2022 onwards.
Thailand’s long steel demand grew slightly, at 2.6% YoY to 4.7 million tonnes in 2021. This is due to the recovery in many of government’s infrastructure projects and the private construction projects after the lifting of travel restriction. It is expected that both public projects and private projects will return with better growth rates in 2022 and this would boost more long steel demand in the country.
Indonesia’s long steel demand picked up significantly in 2020 from the government’s mega projects. However, long steel demand dropped slightly, at 1.4% YoY to 7.2 million tonnes in 2021. Apart from Covid-19, infrastructure projects remain the government’s priority. The Ministry of Public Works and Public Housing had the highest budget allocation to promote infrastructure development in 2021. This could have a strong impact on long steel demand in future years.
Malaysia’s long steel demand moderately recovered at 1.2% y-o-y in 2021. Construction sector in the country saw improved in the second quarter but the volume dropped to negative level in the second half of the year.
Vietnam’s long steel demand also registered a slight negative growth rate of 1.1% YoY to 11 million tonnes. According to Vietnam Steel Association, construction value in 2021 will increase 5% compared to 2020. Therefore, it is expected that the slight decline of long steel demand would be an impact from a temporary slow down in construction sector.