Trade in raw materials will decrease as domestic consumption increases and exports decrease

Global steel scrap trade will decline by about 15% by 2030, from 110 million tons to 93 million tons. This is stated in a study by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG).

Currently, global trade accounts for about 17% of the world’s annual scrap collection (≈110 million tons). At the same time, Turkey is dependent on the European Union, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the Russian Federation for 25 million tons of mostly low-grade scrap annually. In particular, the United States is such an important supplier of raw materials to the Turkish market that Turkish steelmakers have set up supply divisions in North America.

At the same time, the US is experiencing a shortage of high-grade scrap and imports raw materials from Canada. Meanwhile, Japan exports its surplus to South Korea, Southeast Asia and China.

«As the availability of scrap will gradually decrease, we expect global trade to gradually decline to 93 million tons by 2030. Domestic consumption is growing, and exporting countries are refraining from shipping abroad,» the report says.

The US and EU markets will experience the main decline in trade, in particular due to restrictive measures. Scrap shipments from Canada to the United States are expected to fall by 50% by 2030, while European exports are expected to fall by almost 25%.

«Countries that cover most of their scrap needs through imports will be significantly impacted if they are unable to secure sufficient domestic collection or production from alternative raw materials such as pig iron, DRI or HBI,» BCG adds.

Some fast-growing markets, such as India, remain particularly vulnerable. Reduced scrap supplies to the Indian market will increase the cost of electric arc furnace (EAF) steel production and jeopardize decarbonization ambitions.

«Governments should explore ways to address the scrap shortage, especially as the domestic steel industry is essential to other critical sectors and global economic competitiveness,» BCG concludes.

As GMK Center reported earlier, in 2023, global consumption of ferrous scrap decreased by 5% compared to 2022 to 588 million tons. The ratio of iron ore to scrap in the steel industry was 70:30 compared to 69:31 in 2021.

The overall decline in global scrap consumption was driven by a decline in steel production in Turkey and key South Asian markets and a reduction in global scrap trade. This was also affected by restrictions in exporting countries.