Malaysia’s finished steel exports increased by more than two times in 2019 amid much higher production in the country and the slowdown of domestic consumption, according to Vincent Choong, CEO of the Malaysian Iron and Steel Federation, who was speaking during the SEAISI e-conference this week. As a result, Malaysia became an important supplier of wire rod and semis in the region.
Finished steel exports from Malaysia totalled 2.74 million mt, up sharply from 1.18 million mt in 2018. The highest growth of export shipments was seen in the longs segment, particularly in wire rod sales.
Long steel exports reached 1.869 million mt last year, from just 301,000 a year before, Mr. Choong said. The main share of this amount was wire rod shipments, totaling 1.306 million mt. Malaysia became an important supplier of wire rod in the ASEAN market in 2019, grabbing a share held by Chinese exports. Moreover, this year China was showing interest in import purchases. If we compare export volumes of wire rod from Malaysia with those from China, the first is not lagging much behind. China exported 2.06 million mt of wire rod last year.
At the same time, total crude steel production in Malaysia rose sharply by 71 percent from 2018 to 7.04 million mt “due to both Alliance Steel and Eastern Steel fully operating in 2019,” according to Mr. Choong. Taking into account that imports of semis are not high in Malaysia, overall exports of semi-finished products, mainly billet, were estimated at about 1.5 million mt or slightly below in 2019.