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Iran Metals Report Q3 2011 Published on July 2011

Report Summary Rapid growth in Iranian steel and aluminium capacities is not being accompanied by a similar rise in domestic and external demand, threatening the prospect of severe overcapacity over the medium term. This latest Iran Metals Report from BMI predicts capacity utilisation to fall below 50% by 2015 if planned plants are commissioned on schedule. The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organisation (Imidro) claims that Iranian steel production will reach 46mn tonnes per annum (tpa) once the ongoing projects come onstream, with 26mn tpa of capacity expected onstream by March 2015. However, steel output was just under 12mn tonnes in 2010, utilising just 60% of capacity. For the Iranian year, which runs from 20 March, output was 12.43mn tonnes (up 14%), which was well below the 14mn tonnes predicted by the government. Growth in capacity without growth in domestic demand and exports will simply lead to higher levels of surplus capacity. In addition, over the next four years, aluminium and copper production capacities are set to rise by 400,000tpa each, according to the government. This will push aluminium capacity to over 900,000tpa and copper capacity to over 600,000tpa. BMI believes the industry will fall well short of its targets, however, due in large part to the effects of sanctions. In the first four months of 2011, steel output was up 10.7% year-on-year (y-o-y) to 4.34mn tonnes. Bearing in mind year-to-date data and projected economic trends, BMI believes it unlikely that full-year output will exceed around 13.4mn tonnes with growth at 12%. Moreover, we expect output to reach around 20mn tonnes in 2015, which would represent a two-thirds increase over 2010 levels, but would still mean that the country's steel industry was operating at less than half capacity if current projects are commissioned on schedule. Low capacity utilisation will undermine the profitability of the Iranian steel industry as well as potential market instability. Despite concerns regarding overcapacity, Iran is pressing ahead with a number of new projects. In January 2011, construction began on a new mini mill with annual production capacity of 1mn tpa of steel billet at Abarkooh, Yazd province. A new 500,000tpa meltshop was due to come online at the Bonab Steel Complex in East Azerbaijan province in June 2011, bringing total crude steel capacity to 1.5mn tpa. Natanz Steel is also due to commission a meltshop with capacity of 600,000tpa of billet some time in 2011, which will feed its existing rolling lines that produce rebar and wire rod. Meanwhile, in Q211 work commenced on the construction of the Damghan Kavir Steel plant with the first phase to consist of a rolling mill with capacity of 300,000tpa rebar. In May 2011, a tender was announced for the expansion of Mobarakeh Steel's Saba continuous strip processing plant with annual capacity of 700,000tpa with facilities including an EAF, a thin slab caster and a hot rolling line. Ghadir Iranian's new direct reduced iron (DRI) plant was launched in Ardakan in May with capacity of 800,000tpa. Sirjin Steel is planning a IRR3.5trn (US$330mn) second phase in Kerman province with a DRI capacity of 1mn tpa to be completed in 2012. Kerman is also the location chosen for a possible new steel plant with capacity of 1.5mn tpa, announced in April 2011. In the aluminium sector, production reached an estimated 410,000 tonnes in 2010/11, representing growth of 19.8% y-o-y. International sanctions will affect aluminium producers more than steelmakers with their impact already being seen on aluminium consumers. Inconsistent pricing with lower prices on the LME has simply complicated the situation, with aluminium consumers bypassing local traders and sourcing raw material from foreign markets. At the same time, the energy needs of smelting operations require an increase in electricity generation and aluminium producers are keen to see the establishment of largescale nuclear power stations, mindful that the country's oil, gas and hydroelectric potential will not be enough. The US's opposition to Iran's nuclear programme therefore poses a major obstacle to the development of Iran's aluminium industry. The inauguration of the 147,000tpa Hormozal smelter in Hormozgan in late-2010 will boost primary aluminium production in 2011, although we are not confident that the plant will produce at full operating rates.

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Table of Content Executive Summary ..................... 5 SWOT Analysis ...... 7 Iran Political SWOT ..... 7 Iran Economic SWOT ... 8 Iran Business Environment SWOT ....... 8 Steel To Average US$580/tonne In 2011 .................... 9 BMI Steel Forecast ....... 9 Steel Prices ................. 10 Cost Push On The Supply Side ........... 10 Few Supply Constraints In Sight, For Now ............... 11 Commodities Forecast ............... 15 Commodity Strategy ' Metals Update ..... 15 Aluminium................... 15 Copper . 16 Gold ..... 17 Lead ..... 18 Nickel ... 19 Tin........ 20 Zinc ...... 21 Forecast Scenario ...................... 22 Table: Iran Metals Industry, 2008-2015 ('000 tonnes unless stated) 24 Macroeconomic Forecasts ................. 26 Table: Iran ' Economic Activity ........ 28 Competitive Landscape ............. 29 Table: Production And Sales By Producer (FY2009/10) ................. 29 Government policy ...... 31 Focus On International Sanctions ..... 32 Recent Developments .. 33 Company Profiles 37 Mobarakeh Steel Company ................ 37 Esfahan Steel Company (ESCO) ........ 38 Global Assumptions, Q311........ 39 Table: Global Assumptions, 2009-2015 .................... 39 Table: Global And Regional Real GDP Growth, 2010-2013 (% change y-o-y) ....... 40 Table: Selected Exchange Rates, 2010-2013 (average) ................... 40 Developed States ......... 41 Table: Developed States' GDP Growth, 2010-2013 (% change y-o-y) .................... 42 Emerging Markets ...... 43 Table: Emerging Markets' GDP Growth, 2010-2013 (% change y-o-y) .................. 44 Consensus Forecasts... 45 Table: Bloomberg Consensus GDP Growth Forecasts, 2011-2012 (% change y-o-y) .................... 45 Country Snapshot: Iran Demographic Data .... 46 Section 1: Population .. 46 Table: Demographic Indicators, 2005-2030 ............. 46

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>> Get this Report Now by email! Table: Rural/Urban Breakdown, 2005-2030 ............ 47 Section 2: Education And Healthcare 47 Table: Education, 2002-2005 ............ 47 Table: Vital Statistics, 2005-2030 ...... 47 Section 3: Labour Market and Spending Power........ 48 Table: Employment Indicators, 1996-2005 ............... 48 Table: Consumer Expenditure, 2000-2012 (US$) ..... 49 Table: Average Annual Manufacturing Wages, 2000-2012 ............. 49 BMI Methodology 50 How We Generate Our Industry Forecasts ............... 50 Cross Checks .............. 50

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Iran Metals Report Q3 2011  

Rapid growth in Iranian steel and aluminium capacities is not being accompanied by a similar rise in domestic and external demand, threateni...