Russian steel market
In 2018, Russia’s economy continued to experience a moderate recovery, recording 2.3% GDP growth. Demand for finished steel products remained practically unchanged at 41 million tonnes. Demand climbed by 3% for long steel, remained stable for flat steel and fell by 2% for tubular products. In the railway segment, demand for wheels surged by 29% due to continued growth in railcar construction and a higher number of railcar overhauls. Meanwhile, demand for rails in Russia dropped by 8%. In construction steel, the beam market edged down by 4% while demand for rebar rose by 8%. Demand for structural products fell by 19% due to greater consumption of substitutes amid higher prices.
Russian export volumes grew by 3% to 30.4 million tonnes, driven by the weaker rouble and stronger prices on export markets. Total crude steel production in Russia rose by 1% to 72.1 million tonnes.
In 2018, Russian steel prices followed global benchmarks. The CPT Moscow rebar price averaged US$493 per tonne, up 11% from US$445 per tonne in 2017. The price for channels climbed by 12% to US$698 per tonne. Hot-rolled coil averaged US$576 per tonne CPT Moscow, up 2% from US$563 per tonne in 2017. Plates averaged US$584 per tonne, up 5% from US$555 per tonne in 2017.
Other steel markets
In Kazakhstan, steel consumption stabilised at 2.7 million tonnes in 2018, down by 4% following strong consumption growth in 2017. Steel product exports dropped by 15% to 3.1 million tonnes, as Kazakh producers reduced production and refocused on the domestic market.