UK steel demand edged higher in 2013

Posted on 27 Jan 2014 by Callum Bentley

British crude steel production in 2013 averaged 228,000 tonnes a week, 23.7% higher than the previous year (184,000 tonnes per week) according to data released today by UK Steel, the sector’s trade association.

However production remains well below pre-recession figures.

Output in quarter four averaged 238,000 tonnes per week, a 1.3% increase on the previous quarter (234,000 tonnes per week) and 23.1% better than Q4 2012 (193,000 tonnes per week).

This was largely due to the continued increase in output from the Teesside steelworks, now owned by the Thai company SSI. The company has recently been investing to increase the plant’s capacity. Also owing to the output increase was Tata Steel’s Port Talbot plant following the rebuilding of a blast furnace last year that had reduced the plant’s output.

Ian Rodgers, Director of UK Steel, said: “The size of the increase is not reflective of the state of the UK market as, to a large extent, this increased output relates to the captive sales of semi-finished steel by the Teesside plant to its parent in Thailand.

“Nevertheless, it was heartening that 2013 ended on a strong note, with Q4 output at the highest quarterly level since the start of the recession. This suggests that UK demand for steel has now turned the corner. However, it remains well below the 2007 peak and the recovery in UK steel demand continues to be weak and patchy.”