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Imports in China over the January-September period showed a further steep drop from a year earlier, underlining the country’s policy of buying more steel scrap from domestic sources than overseas. It imported 1.962 million tonnes of scrap, down 43.4% from the same period a year earlier, BIR said in its latest quarterly report on ferrous metals.

For the whole of 2013, China imported 4.465 million tonnes of ferrous scrap, down 10.2% from 2012.

However, there was a further increase in scrap usage for crude steel production in China over January-September 2014, edging upwards by 4.8% to 67.4 million tonnes.

Japan also registered a rise in scrap consumption over the nine-month period. It consumed 27.8 million tonnes, a 2.9% increase.

Both these countries saw their scrap usage increase by a higher percentage than that of their crude steel output during those nine months, BIR pointed out. China’s produced 618 million tonnes of crude steel, up 2.3% on the year, while Japan posted a 0.8% rise in its output to 83.1 million tonnes.

Scrap usage also grew in the European Union (up 2.4% to 68.9 million tonnes), South Korea (up 0.8% to 24.3 million tonnes) and Russia (up 0.3% to 14.02 million tonnes). For these regions, the increases in scrap usage were lower in percentage terms than their respective gains in crude steel production.

The January-September 2014 figures also showed that scrap usage in the USA was unchanged, at 39.2 million tonnes, while that in Turkey dipped by 1.6% to 21.57 million tonnes.

Apart from China, Malaysia also recorded a substantial reduction in overseas ferrous scrap purchases. The Southeast Asian country took in 0.824 million tonnes, down 49.8% year-on-year.

Other countries that imported less scrap during the period were South Korea (down 7.1% to 6.433 million tonnes), India (down 15.4% to 4.06 million tonnes), Taiwan (down 5.7% to 3.177 million tonnes), Indonesia (down 20.4% to 1.51 million tonnes), and Canada (down 17.2% to 1.096 million tonnes).

Turkey – the world’s foremost scrap importer – increased its overseas purchases by a marginal 0.2% to 14.68 million tonnes in the first nine months of 2014, BIR said. This came in the wake of a reduction of 12% in 2013.

Also in positive territory were the scrap imports of the USA (up 14.5% to 3.154 million tonnes), the EU (up 2.6% to 2.417 million tonnes) and Thailand (up 66.7% to 1.06 million tonnes).