Global sales for exports of stainless steel by country totaled US$2.6 billion in 2018. Overall, the value of exported stainless steel expanded by an average 38.2% for all exporting countries since 2014 when stainless steel shipments were worth $1.9 billion. Year over year, the value of exported stainless steel rose 20.6% from 2017 to 2018.
Among continents, Europe sold the highest dollar worth of exported stainless steel during 2018 with shipments valued at $1.5 billion or more than half (55.7%) of world exports for this commodity. In second place were Asian exporters via a 38.7% share followed by North America at 5.4%. Smaller percentages came from stainless steel suppliers in Oceania (0.1%) led by Australia, Africa (0.04%) and Latin America (0.02%) excluding Mexico but including the Caribbean.
For research purposes, the 4-digit Harmonized Tariff System code prefix is 7213 for stainless steel in primary forms including ingots.
Below are the 15 countries that exported the highest dollar value worth of stainless steel during 2018.
- Indonesia: US$821.6 million (31.5% of exported stainless steel)
- United Kingdom: $642 million (24.6%)
- Sweden: $227.2 million (8.7%)
- United States: $112.8 million (4.3%)
- Italy: $101.1 million (3.9%)
- Spain: $88.3 million (3.4%)
- Austria: $74.9 million (2.9%)
- Germany: $70.4 million (2.7%)
- France: $64.4 million (2.5%)
- Taiwan: $55.2 million (2.1%)
- Belgium: $47.4 million (1.8%)
- Malaysia: $45 million (1.7%)
- South Korea: $39.3 million (1.5%)
- Slovakia: $32 million (1.2%)
- Canada: $28.1 million (1.1%)
By value, the listed 15 countries shipped 93.8% of global stainless steel exports in 2018.
Among the top exporters, the fastest-growing stainless steel exporters since 2014 were: Indonesia (up 43,095%), Slovakia (up 1,073%), South Korea (up 316.4%) and Malaysia (up 214.6%).
Those countries that posted declines in their exported stainless steel sales were led by: Italy (down -50.3%), Spain (down -29.3%), United States (down -18.2%), Sweden (down -17.7%) and Austria (down -16.5%).
The following countries posted the highest positive net exports for stainless steel during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the surplus between the value of each country’s exported stainless steel and its import purchases for that same commodity.
- Indonesia: US$772 million (net export surplus, reversing a -$43.9 million deficit in 2014)
- United Kingdom: $600.3 million (up 2.4% since 2014)
- Malaysia: $40.7 million (reversing a -$1.7 million deficit)
- Italy: $23.6 million (down -78.3%)
- Spain: $22.6 million (down -61.3%)
- South Korea: $11.6 million (reversing a -$45.3 million deficit)
- Norway: $8.6 million (down -19.9%)
- Canada: $6.4 million (up 38.5%)
- Denmark: $6.3 million (up 213.8%)
- Slovenia: $4.6 million (down -7%)
- Hungary: $3.6 million (up 299.1%)
- Australia: $3.4 million (down -33.7%)
- Slovakia: $974,000 (reversing a -$4 million deficit)
- Croatia: $828,000 (reversing a -$248,000 deficit)
- Thailand: $678,000 (up 455.7%)
Overtaking the United Kingdom in 2018, Indonesia earned the highest surplus in the international trade of stainless steel. In turn, this positive cashflow confirms Indonesia’s strong competitive advantage for this specific product category.
The following countries posted the highest negative net exports for stainless steel during 2018. Investopedia defines net exports as the value of a country’s total exports minus the value of its total imports. Thus, the statistics below present the deficit between the value of each country’s imported stainless steel purchases and its exports for that same commodity.
- China: US-$925.2 million (net export deficit up 1,103% since 2014)
- United States: -$291.5 million (up 21.7%)
- Taiwan: -$176.1 million (up 990.9%)
- Sweden: -$175.1 million (up 275.2%)
- France: -$75.8 million (up 3.7%)
- Finland: -$52.8 million (reversing an $895,000 surplus)
- Portugal: -$48.5 million (up 23%)
- India: -$28.9 million (reversing a $5.4 million surplus)
- Czech Republic: -$24.4 million (up 60%)
- Germany: -$20.6 million (down -66.8%)
- Belgium: -$20.6 million (up 336.2%)
- Ukraine: -$13.9 million (down -46.2%)
- Mexico: -$13.3 million (up 8.2%)
- Russia: -$11.6 million (up 167.5%)
- Singapore: -$10.5 million (up 59%)
China incurred the highest deficit in the international trade of stainless steel. In turn, this negative cashflow highlights China’s strong competitive disadvantage for this specific product category but also signals opportunities for stainless steel-supplying countries that help satisfy the powerful demand.
Stainless Steel Exporting Companies
Below are global stainless steel-processing conglomerates that represent established players engaged in the international trade of stainless steel. Each home country is shown within parenthesis.
- Acerinox, SA (Spain)
- British Steel Limited (United Kingdom)
- China Steel (Taiwan)
- Gruppo Riva (Italy)
- Nucor Corporation (United States)
- SSAB AB (Sweden)
- Tata Steel Limited (India)
- ThyssenKrupp AG (Germany)
- Vallourec (France)
- Voestalpine (Austria)