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Steel imports remains high compared to 2019

According to data released by the South African Revenue Service, a total of 1 299 257 tonnes of primary carbon and alloy steel products (excluding semis, stainless steel and drawn wire) were imported during the twelve (12) months of 2022, a decrease of 5,1% compared with 1 369 792 tonnes imported during the corresponding period of 2021. However, compared to the corresponding period of 2019, imports surged up by 42,7% from 905 355 tonnes.

Imports of primary carbon and alloy steel products (excluding stainless steel and drawn wire) amounted to 71 416 tonnes) during December 2022, a decrease of 22,5% compared with 92 094 tonnes imported during December 2021.

Imports currently accounts for over 25% of the domestic market. Cheap imports benefiting state intervention, in the form of, low environmental standards, and poor labour rights distort global markets. Although these interventions may bring apparent gains in short-term economic welfare, they however distort longer-term economic outcomes. The products mainly affected are ultra-thin gauge zinc-coated steel sheets, low-coated galvanized wire products, and black bars for bright drawing that continues to flood the South African market.

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SteelMatters – JUNE 2024

This month, we cover primary steel trade, steel-consuming sectors, international steel prices, high imports, declining exports, and slowing production in South Africa's steel sector.