bir ferrous handbook
The Bureau of International Recycling handbook of ferrous scrap and steel statistics can be downloaded from its website.
Image courtesy of the BIR.

China boosts its ferrous scrap use in 2019

BIR releases its annual update of global ferrous scrap and steelmaking statistics.

The Ferrous Division board of the Brussels-based Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) has announced the publication of the 11th edition of its “World Steel Recycling in Figures” handbook. The announcement was made by Ferrous Division President Greg Schnitzer and Statistics Advisor Rolf Willeke.

The 44-page booklet (or PDF file) portrays a pre-COVID-19 snapshot of a 2019 “increase in world crude steel output and in global steel scrap use as a raw material for steelmaking,” says BIR. Even with a growing industry, however, “There was a drop last year in global external steel scrap trading,” notes the BIR.

Among statistical findings for 2019:

  • global crude steel production of 1.87 billion metric tons in 2019 rose 3.4 percent compared with 2018;
  • worldwide basic oxygen furnace (BOF) production increased by 6.5 percent to 1.34 billion metric tons while the electric arc furnace (EAF) and induction furnace total was virtually unchanged at 523 million metric tons.
  • ferrous scrap consumption in China rose by 15 percent, with that nation’s steelmakers absorbing nearly 216 million metric tons of scrap, compared with 188 million the prior year; the nation’s EAF production has nearly doubled in two years when comparing 2019 output to that of 2017;
  • ferrous scrap use rose by 1 percent in the United States in 2019, totaling 60.7 million metric tons; and
  • in the EU, scrap consumption fell by 3.7 percent, checking in at 87.5 million metric tons.

On the trading front, Turkey imported 8.7 percent less ferrous scrap in 2019 compared with the year before, but it retained its position as the world’s foremost steel scrap importer, says BIR. The nation’s main supplier, at more than 3.8 million metric tons, was the U.S.

“India reinforced its position as the world’s second-largest steel scrap importer with an 11.4 percent increase in its overseas steel scrap purchases” in 2019, says BIR. India brought in more than 7 million tons of ferrous scrap, with its main supplier being the United Kingdom, which shipped around 870,000 metric tons.

The EU exported nearly 21.8 million metric tons in 2019, a figure slightly higher than its 2018 total. The U.S. also shipped out more scrap (by 2 percent) in 2019 compared with 2018, for a total of  nearly 17.7 million tons exported.

A PDF file of the “World Steel Recycling in Figures” handbook can be accessed on this web page