Steel Trading

Steel trading is important in moving the globes main building material to where it needs to be.  Imperium Commodity Search and her consultants have experience working across the global steel trading space across consultants, agents, sales, sourcing and back to back steel trading positions as well as operational, analytical and trade finance support.

What is Steel? 

Steel is an alloy of iron and Carbon, often with small amounts of minor product such as silicon, phosphorus and sulphur/sulfur.  Steel is a common building material globally due to its strength and relative low cost/abundance compared to other metals.  Steel is made into numerous different forms, shapes and grades depending on the application.  As well as building/construction, steel is often used in the production of household items, transport and shipping. 

How is Steel made? 

There are two primary methods in the production of steel: 
Blast Furnace (basic oxygen) – Pig Iron / Iron Ore is poured into a blast furnace to make iron.  Iron is then put through the Basic Oxygen Furnace (BOF) which separates the slag, heats the iron, removes impurities and produces molten steel.  This molten steel is then separated from the slag and poured for casting.  This is by far the most common form of steel making globally, accounting for around 70% of global production. 
Electric Arc Furnace – Scrap steel / Iron is put through the same process, heating and removing impurities through an Electric Arc Furnace which melts down the scrap steel for casting.  This method accounts for around a quarter of global steel production. 
Types of Steel
Steel is cast into different shapes and sizes dependent upon the end use of the steel.  Casting is the process of pouring molten steel into moulds, made of iron, and then cooling the steel to a solid metal block or tube.  Once steel leaves the furnace, it does so in a semi-finished state.
Semi Finished:
Semi-Finished Steel is the unit of steel which comes from the furnace ready for further processing into finished products.
Ingots are rough castings of a rectangle or square shape which go onto further processing into finished product

Billets are lengths of semi finished steel with a round or square cross-section through extrusion or continuous casting which are further processed to make bar stock or wire

Slabs are oblong blocks of semi finished steel which are pressed or flat rolled/pipe rolled into steel sheets, plates, strips, pipes and tubes


Finished steel falls into two key categories; flats and longs.  These are specific shapes/sizes of steel used in different applications such as piping for the oil and gas industry or plates for shipping. 

Flats include plates and strips.  used in construction, engineering, mining and ship building

Longs include I and H beams, pipes and bars, used primarily in construction framing, oil & gas and structural work

Largest Steel Producers: 

Steel is produced on a global scale.  Over recent years, production has shifted towards the east, with China accounting for over 50% of global steel production each year.  The largest 5 steel producing countries globally (in Million MT) are: 

China (810)
Japan (105) 
India (96)
USA (79)
Russia (71)

Largest Steel Importers:

Due to its wide range of applications and its importance to the construction industry, steel is used and imported globally for construction and manufacturing.  The largest steel importing countries (in Million MT) are:  

US (31)
Germany (26)
South Korea (23) 
Italy (20) 
Vietnam (20) 

Who are the key companies? 

Steel is an area where large multinationals dominate the production landscape.  The largest producers of steel (in Million MT) are: 

ArcelorMittal (Luxembourg)
China Baowu Steel Group (China)
NSSMC (Japan) 
HBIS Group (China) 
POSCO (South Korea) 

What is the Salary for a Steel Trader? 

Steel Traders salaries vary largely based on geography and trading set up.  Back to Back traders within trading houses in Switzerland can earn over 200,000CHF per annum with a discretionary bonus or profit share agreement in addition. 

Steel Trading Recruitment from Imperium Commodity Search

Imperium Commodity Search and her consultants have worked across trading, middle office and support roles within the global steel trading markets.  Our consultants have an expert coverage of traders and contracts administrators/traffic operators globally with a proven track record of successfully placing steel market candidates in niche or difficult to fill positions.  

If you want to learn more about our experience in the steel trading markets or find out how we recruit for steel trading positions, please call us on +44 (0) 203 927 5090 or register online here and one of our steel & metals recruitment consultants will be in touch. 

To view our current steel / iron ore brokerage, trading, operations and support vacancies click here or contact one of our consultants to discuss current careers / jobs in steel trading to discuss your needs in more detail. 

To arrange a consultation with a consultant to discuss your hiring needs / growth plans and where we can assist click here or contact one of our consultants directly here for a confidential discussion.