The surge in China’s use of steel scrap has been overstated. The Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) at its recent London convention announced that scrap metal usage in China had increased by 105% for the first six months of 2018 compared with the previous year.  The actual figure was 41%.   Interestingly the data supplied to the bureau via the government agency had errors caused by technical problems in compilation.

Final Calculations

Since the conference , BIR’s statistics advisor Rolf Willeke advised that   ‘China’s Association of Metalscrap Utilisation (CAMU) has updated the figures following a review of the data.   “According to the new data, steel scrap usage for crude steel production in China increased to 87.7 million tonnes.  This compares with a level of  62.2 million tonnes for the same period in 2017.” Mr Willeke said.

Whilst embarrasing even with the error the actual result still reflects the huge impact China has on the global market.  The country with the second highest increase was Russia with a growth of 11%.

New Projection

The CAMU is now projecting steel scrap metal input will be more than 180 million tonnes in the next 12 months. This increase is a direct result of the government’s  introduction of higher pollutant emission standards.  According to BIR, Chinese mills are continuing to increase their steel scrap input. The steel to scrap ratio is currently averaging 20-25%.

Recycal as a specialized scrap metal recycler is supportive of any strategy that boosts and improves steel scrap metal usage.   The impact of which will lead to reduced  energy consumption and an improved carbon footprint. The company will continue to invest to boost their local production capacity to meet the needs of both domestic customers, and those emerging markets in Asia.


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