Steel coils.  Picture: BLOOMBERG
Steel coils. Picture: BLOOMBERG

SOUTH African steel production rose 2.7% year on year in January to an estimated 650,000 tons compared with a 7.1% year-on-year decline for global steel production, according to the World Steel Association (worldsteel).

This followed a 16.3% rise in South African steel production to 7.6-million tons in 2015 compared with a 2.8% decline in global steel production to 1.6228-billion tons. In 2015, steel production decreased in all regions except Oceania, which registered a 4.6% gain.

South African steel production fell 7.6% year on year in the first half of 2015 to 3.2-million tons as the industry battled with electricity supply disruptions and subdued domestic demand.

The poor demand was in part due to the government’s multibillion rand infrastructure investment plans failing to gain traction, as investment in steel-intensive railway corridors such as links to Swaziland and the Waterberg coalfields, remain plans, not projects.

In yesterday’s budget speech, the Treasury outlined plans for R865.4bn in public-sector infrastructure spending over the next three fiscal years. The largest portion of R291.6bn will be invested in the steel-intensive transport and logistics sector.