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South African steel production plummets

South African steel production plummets 

South African steel production fell by 12.5 percent year on year (y/y) in March to an estimated 570‚000 tons after plunging by 16.6 percent y/y in February to 515‚000 tons‚ according to world steel association data.

The first quarter 2013 was down 11.3 percent y/y and 18.8 percent lower than the first quarter 2011.

By contrast‚ China’s steel industry‚ which is a major importer of SA iron ore‚ grew by 9.1 percent y/y in the first quarter to 191.9 million tons‚ while the global steel indutry expanded production by 2.3 percent y/y to 388.7 million tons.

Last year SA production fell by 5.7 percent to only 7.12 million tons‚ its lowest level since at least 1980‚ for which the world steel association has data. This contrasts with a 1.2 percent rise in global steel production in 2012 after a 8.1 percent jump in 2011.

The first quarter 2013 SA steel production was impacted by the fire at the basic oxygen furnace plant on February 9 at Vanderbijlpark.

In mid-April ArcellorMittal SA (ACL) said its basic oxygen furnaces have been recommissioned.

The company said an assessment into the cause of the fire has been completed‚ revealing the steel-making facility had been affected by a malfunctioning sensor and computer software.

ArcellorMittal SA’s share price was down 5.3 percent on Monday to R22.77 compared with last year’s high of R59.74 achieved in May.

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