Russian Steel market
While the Russian economy demonstrated moderate 1.3% GDP growth in 2019, the government’s national projects are expected to foster economic growth in the country in the coming years. The domestic steel market expanded by 8% to 44.9 million tonnes. Consumption of long products climbed by 8% to 18.2 million tonnes, driven by higher construction activity amid changes in the financing of real estate. Developers have accelerated the implementation of existing projects to complete them before the new rules come into force. Demand for flat and tubular products grew by a respective 8% to 15.2 million tonnes and 10% to 11.5 million tonnes. In the railway segment, wheel consumption surged by 22%, supported by continued strong demand from railcar producers and repair companies. The rail market rose by 3% due to higher demand from both Russian Railways and other consumers. In the construction segment, demand for beam and rebar climbed by 16% and 13% respectively, while the consumption of structural products was down by 3%.
In 2019, strong domestic consumption and widespread trade barriers in foreign steel markets pushed export sales down by 12% to 27.1 million tonnes.
Total crude steel production in Russia remained at the level of 72.0 million tonnes in 2019.
During the period, steel prices in Russia followed global trends with average levels than in 2018. The CPT Moscow rebar benchmark was down by 5%, averaging US$469 per tonne versus US$493 per tonne in 2018. Channel prices dropped by 17% to US$582 per tonne in 2019, compared with US$698 per tonne the previous year. Prices for HRC and plate also fell by a respective 4% to US$553 per tonne and 4% to US$561 per tonne.
Other steel markets
Steel consumption in Kazakhstan edged down by 13% to 3.2 million tonnes. Exports from the country plunged by 15% to 2.7 million tonnes due to the reduction of output by Kazakhstan’s leading producer, ArcelorMittal Temirtau.