Steel production down in past year

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The evolution of steel production is a key indicator of activity in the industrial sector.

JOHANNESBURG - South African steel production fell 0.9 percent year-on-year in February to 491‚000 tons‚ after an 8.1 percent jump in January to 577‚000 tons‚ according to the World Steel Association.

Steel production rose 2.6 percent in 2017 to an estimated 6.301-million tons after falling by 4.2 percent in 2016. 

READ: SA willing to negotiate quotas to avoid steel tariffs: Davies

The steel sector remains under threat due to global overcapacity so steel prices remain low.

In addition‚ the announcement of a 10 percent tariff on imports of steel into the US has thrown the global industry into turmoil as some countries are exempt and some not.

The Department of Trade and Industry has applied for exemption from the tariff as steel imports from South Africa are only 1 percent of total US imports‚ and 0.3 percent of total US steel demand.

Trade and Industry Minister Rob Davies has noted that some of the tariff lines are covered under the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act and the General System of Preferences and the application of duties will erode the benefits under these preferential arrangements.

He emphasised that South Africa does not pose a threat to US national security or the US steel industry‚ but rather it is a source of strategic primary and secondary products used in further value-added manufacturing in the US‚ contributing to job creation in both countries.