Central Europe was the only EU region with a positive growth rate for steel output in 2015. Steel production in the region showed a 4% increase on 2014, compared with 2% decline in western Europe, a 3% decline in southern Europe and 6% decline in the Black Sea and Balkan countries, trade group EUROMETAL said ahead of its regional meeting on central Europe scheduled for April 19 in Prague.
Central Europe also showed positive performance in steel consumption. Apparent consumption increased in all countries in the region with Poland’s steel consumption for last year estimated at 12.6 million, 2% up on 2014 and 24% up on 2009, Platts learnt.
Owing to its positive fundamentals central EU markets have been strongly penetrated by western European distributors, which have been challenging local independent players such as Ferona, Konsorcjum Stali, Bowim and Raven, according EUROMETAL’s research.
The downstream steel sector in Europe continues to integrate as central European steel markets are gradually becoming part of multilateral industrial and commercial networks, EUROMETAL noted.
Also, despite Klöckner and Tata Steel Distribution pulling out of central Europe, many players based in the western part of the EU, including Salzgitter Handel, ThyssenKrupp Materials, BE Group, ArcelorMittal Distribution and Jacquet Metals have retained their foothold in the central European markets.
Wojtek Laskowski, PLATTS