Steel in figures
Here you will find the principal data and facts on steel production, imports/exports,the development of sales, numbers employed, and many other statistics at a glance.
Germany is the largest crude steel producer in the EU. It is in 7th position worldwide after China (1), Japan (2), USA (3), India (4), Russia (5) and South Korea (6). Germany is also in seventh place for hot rolled products. As in other industrial countries, hot rolled production is composed of 65% flat and 35% long products.
While in 1980 amounts were still produced using the SM process, this environmentally damaging and cost-intensive process is no longer employed. At the same time, the proportion of electric steel has risen considerably. Special steel's share of the total creased from 13 % in 1980 to 19,3 % in 2012.
Germany´s largest steel producer
In recent years, globalisation has not only changed the face of the world’s steel industry. Mergers with domestic and foreign participation have also led to new corporate dimensions in Germany too. Thus, after the merger of Thyssen and Krupp, the newly created TKS is now Germany’s top company. Globally active groups such as ArcelorMittal, Riva, Feralpi, CSN and Outokumpo are represented on the German market as a result of corporate take-overs.
Production and employment
The German steel industry has made enormous efforts during the last 30 years to bring about continuous improvements in its competitiveness. Productivity, measured as the specific crude steel production in tonnes per employee, has increased rapidly this period. Most recently it has reached a level of 484 tonnes/employee. This is a top level internationally.
Crude steel by process
Crude steel is now produced on the basis of pig iron in the oxygen steel process (LD converters) and on the basis of scrap as a raw material in the electric steel process (light-arc furnace). The Thomas process and the Siemens-Martin (SM) process for steel production were no longer competitive in terms of performance and the steel properties desired, and were unsuitable for environmentally friendly dedusting. Development of oxygen steel production began as long ago as the 60s. The share of the electric steel process has successively expanded since the mid-80s. Continuous casting technology was the basic innovation in steel production in the 70s. Almost 100% of crude steel production is now continuously cast.
Scrap steel is an important raw material for steel production. After appropriate preparation for use, unlimited re-use of the material steel is achieved through recycling.
Foreign trade in German steel
The German steel industry is integrated in international distribution. Currently about 75% of foreign trade business takes place within the EU. The export surplus for rolled steel products was 0.8 Mill. t in 2012. The trade surplus with third countries increased from 1.8 Mill. t in 2011 to 3.0 Mill. t in 2012.
Germany: its domestic supply and imports
The economic boom year 2007 saw an attractive German steel market drawing more deliveries from abroad. As a result of the economic recession beginning with the end of 2008 there was a dramatic fall of german imports, especially for imports from the rest of EU and from third countries. 2010 and 2011 was a strong increase again. The imports decreased from 22.2 Mill. t in 2011 to 19,7 Mill. t in 2012. Still about 55% of the needs of the German market were met from domestic production. Most of the imports came from the EU, and only 5% of market share were supplied by third countries. The most important third country importers were America, Asia, the CIS, and other European countries.
The trend of rising exports of German steel products is the evidence of a good international performance of the German steel industry. The majority of German exports (almost 75%) remained within the EU. Deliveries to third countries have been relatively constant from 2006 to 2008 and from 2010 to 2012, at approx. 5 Mill. t per year. In 2012 total exports reached 20 Mill. t whereas deliveries to third countries reached 5.0 Mill.t. The most important destination countries were the other European countries, Asia, and NAFTA.
The development of turnover in the German steel industry
After the collapse in the total turnover of the iron-producing industry in 2009 (the result of the worldwide economic crisis), an increase in turnover could be achieved in 2010 and 2011, thanks to a rise in delivery amaonts. The share of turnover with countries outside the EU reached approximately 33 %.
Steel production in the EU
Steel production in the EU has achieved a high technical standard. The proportion of continuous casting is now 95%. The relatively weak rise in pig iron production in relation to the development of crude steel production is due to the increased penetration of the electric steel route. The share of electric steel was still only 30% in the EU-25 in 1995, but had already risen to 40% by 2011. The production of hot rolled steel products concentrates on flat products (60%), as in other highly developed industrial nations.
World steel production
World crude steel production reached in 2011 more than 1.5 bn. tonnes. Almost 70 % is based on the oxygen steel route and 29 % on the electric steel route. The share of open hearth furnace (1%) is falling. The proportion of continuous casting has meanwhile risen to 95%, though there are large regional differences. The worldwide trend towards flat products led to a share of almost 55% of the production of hot rolled steel products. World iron ore production is concentrated in just a few countries. China, Brazil and Australia make the largest contribution to total world production.
World crude steel production
In recent years, globalisation has caused major changes in the structure of the world steel industry. Mergers have led to the creation of new corporate dimensions. Thus the merger of Arcelor and Mittal Steel in 2007 created a new international steel group leading the world rankings by a long way. Arcelor-Mittal is followed by POSCO, Nippon Steel and JFE Steel. China’s largest steel manufacturer, Baosteel, was on position five. ThyssenKrupp was ranked sixth in 2011 and India’s Tata Group has progressed to seventh position. (each ranking by steel-turnover)
Worldwide market supply
With a market share of 65%, Asia is currently by far the world’s largest market for finished steel products. China alone took up 45%. Europe is the world’s second-largest market with a market share of 13% (the EU 27 alone: 11%), followed by America with 12%.
World production 1970 - 2012
In quantity terms, steel is by far the most important material of all the substitutes listed opposite, and has actually gained in importance during the last 30 years. This is despite the fact that technical progress has led to a fall in the relative steel content of steel-containing goods, representing extraordinary performance in the competition with substitutes. The steel industry has developed from a supplier of an input material to a partner of many steel processors, and a supplier of high-tech products and tailor-made components. In addition, production in highly efficient (and thus economical) plants ensures consistently competitive prices.
We recommend the “Statistische Jahrbuch Stahl” (Annual Steel Statistics - contents), published by the German Steel Federation, as a comprehensive reference work for data and facts on the steel industry. It can be ordered for EUR 44.90 from the Publishing House Stahleisen (Verlag Stahleisen) under book number ISBN 978-3-514-00799-4 at: firstname.lastname@example.org
The e-mail version (Excel tables 4MB) cost EUR 70.20. The pdf e-mail version cost EUR 46.40 (prices incl. VAT).
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