Assofermet reaffirms need for government help for steel

Italian steel trade association Assofermet is urging the government to let the Italian steel industry resume work by reopening mills and warehouses starting as from 14 April.

“Considering the impact on the economic, production and distribution system [… the association] is compelled to insist that the government makes some key decisions without which the impact on the economy will be catastrophic and irreversible and not without significant implication on the country’s social stability,” Assofermet says in a note sent to Kallanish.

If the authorities decide not to lift the lockdown on the industry, Assofermet is proposing a partial resumption of activities for the entire steel value chain, from producers to end user sectors.

A system of loans and credit lines guaranteed by the government could be implemented for steel companies, Assofermet suggests. This would address the issue of a lack of liquidity and allow companies to implement the investment needed to resume activities.

Alessandro Banzato, head of Italian steelmakers’ association Federacciai, has called for the country to begin discussing strategies for the reopening of production, even partially, by mid-April. Italy has been in lockdown for two weeks and most steelmakers have been forced by the government to stop production to comply with the total closures imposed by the latest emergency laws. According to Banzato, 95% of the steel sector is halted (see Kallanish passim).