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Kallanish Kallanish

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April, 21st 2019

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JAN 31
20:37

Eurofer anticipates European steel market slowdown in 2019

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Apparent steel consumption (ASC) in the EU steel market is estimated to have risen by 2.6% in 2018, according to the European steelmakers’ association Eurofer. The increase in steel demand mainly benefitted third country suppliers, owing to a rise of 12.3% in steel imports. By contrast, European producers barely gained from domestic growth, shipping just 0.6% more steel to the EU market, the association adds in a statement sent to Kallanish.

In terms of outlook, EU steel market fundamentals are expected to remain moderately positive. Nevertheless, ASC growth is forecast to slow down to only 0.5% in 2019, followed by 1.2% in 2020. This is less than one-third of the compound annual growth rate of apparent steel consumption over the period 2014-2018, Eurofer says.

EU ASC grew by 2.6% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2018 and amounted to 38 million tonnes. Quarterly apparent steel consumption had been around an average 43mt in the first half of the year. Lower consumption in Q3 2018 can be explained by the usual seasonal slowdown in manufacturing and construction activity and some destocking in the supply chain, the association adds.   

Estimates for Q4 show a further deceleration in y-o-y growth in ASC due to seasonal destocking. This very modest growth scenario in combination with other macro global influences “… has the potential to develop into a major threat for EU market stability,” Eurofer continues.

Activity in regional steel-user sectors fell away in H2 2018, with the exception being construction. Total output growth in the EU’s steel-using sectors is estimated to have amounted to 3.1% in 2018. Output in EU steel-using sectors is forecast to grow by 1.5% in 2019 and by 1.7% in 2020, Eurofer says.