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Apparent steel use is projected to reach 18.53 million tonnes in 2015, up from last year’s 17.33 million tonnes, the data showed.
Last year saw steelmakers in Thailand produce 6.8 million tonnes of steel products, down 4.6% year-on-year, while imports slid 2.9% to 11.9 million tonnes. Exports also fell 3.1% to 1.35 million tonnes.
In the long steel segment, production of wire rod recorded a sharp 29.8% year-on-year decline to 430,454 tonnes. Imports of the product rose 17% to 1.65 million tonnes.
As for flat steel, hot rolled plate output fell 22.1% to 240,586 tonnes, while imports climbed 3.7% to 261,007 tonnes. Hot rolled sheet output fell 3.2% to 2.6 million tonnes, while imports reached 4.2 million tonnes, down 10.3% from a year earlier.
Japan remained Thailand’s largest source of imports last year, at 5.09 million tonnes, up 3.9% year-on-year. China came in second, at 3.39 million tonnes (up 19%) while South Korea accounted for 1.47 million tonnes (down 6.3%) of imports.
Construction accounted for the bulk of the country’s steel demand last year, at 53.4%; followed by automotive, at 18.6%; machinery, shipbuilding and industrial, at 12.5%; appliances, at 11%; and packaging, at 4.5%.
Thailand’s steel demand per capita in 2014 was 268kg, compared with 274kg in 2013, the Isit figures showed.
Thailand’s steel consumption is expected to rise by 6.8% this year on downstream industry growth after a 3.5% decline in 2014, according to the latest figures from the Iron & Steel Institute of Thailand (Isit).