Steel consumption in ASEAN-6 countries is expected to decline 2.1 percent to 79.3 million tonnes in 2020, mainly due to falls in the Philippines, Malaysia and Thailand, the Secretary General said SEAISI Ye Vi Jin is hosted by SEAISI at the e-conference.
The largest drop in demand is expected in the Philippines, with an expected 8.1 percent drop this year, reflecting the sharp decline in construction activity during the Covid-19 pandemic. This will affect the total imports of billets in the ASEAN region, as the Philippines is one of the main buyers. Steel demand in Malaysia is projected to decline by 8 percent and in Thailand by 6.6 percent.
However, Vietnam and Indonesia are expected to see positive growth in steel consumption in 2020, adding four percent and three percent, respectively. Vietnam is the only ASEAN-6 country expected to post positive GDP growth this year at 2.8 percent, according to the World Bank. Strong demand for HRC in Vietnam supported factories in India, the CIS and even Turkey as they faced slowing demand in their local markets during the pandemic.
“Covid-19 is having a significant impact on the ASEAN economy, with most expecting a V-shaped recovery by 2021,” Yeo Wee Jin said in his speech. Historically, ASEAN countries have recovered very quickly from the 1997 Asian financial crisis, and it usually takes them no more than one year to get back on track. ASEAN-6 steel consumption is expected to rise by five percent to 83.2 million tonnes in 2021, including a rapid recovery in the Philippines, where demand is expected to increase by 6.9 percent, and in Thailand, which is expected to grow by five percent. At the same time, demand in Vietnam and Indonesia will grow by 3.3 percent and 3.4 percent in 2021, respectively.