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Manufacture and Wholesale of Basic Iron and Steel
South Africa was the world’s 25th-largest crude steel producer in 2018, with output of 6.3 million tons (Mt). South Africa exported 2.7Mt of semi-finished and finished steel products worth US$2.4bn. The country produced 5.4Mt of iron and exported 662.4 kilotons (kt) of iron worth US$245.2m. The volume of basic iron and steel products produced increased by 1.6% between in the year to March 2019, while the sales value of these products at current prices rose by 9.0% over the same period. High production costs, the inconsistent supply of electricity, and poor domestic demand continue to have a significant impact on the performance of local manufacturers and wholesalers of basic iron and steel.
Industry Under Threat
The local steel sector has been in decline since 2008/9, with pricing, margins and profitability being negatively affected by surplus, the large number of competitors, weak demand, and imports of cheap steel. Demand from the important steel-consuming construction sector has decreased as fewer projects are being undertaken by the private and public sectors. Consumption by the mining sector has also declined. The stainless steel industry is affected by cheaper imports from China, high labour costs, and increasing electricity prices. A proposed US$10bn metallurgical complex in the Musina Makhado special economic zone is expected to have significant repercussions for the local industry.
This report on the Manufacture and Wholesale of Basic Iron and Steel includes comprehensive information and statistics on the size and state of the sector, production and exports and the factors that influence the sector in South Africa, on the continent and globally. There are profiles of 46 companies including the four largest primary steel producers, ArcelorMittal South Africa, Cape Gate, Columbus Stainless and Scaw Metals. Other profiles include Coega Steels, which is doubling plant capacity, and Allied Steelrode, which commissioned a second stretcher leveller in response to increasing demand for stretched and flattened steel.