Construction drives Southeast Europe steel demand

Construction growth provides a positive outlook for steel demand in most countries of Southeast Europe (SEE), according to Bulgarian long steelmaker Promet, part of Ukraine’s Metinvest.

The situation in Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania is improving despite global demand being hampered by the Covid-19 pandemic, a Promet official tells Kallanish. “Our company had some 30-40% more production in March and April,” she says. “The situation is improving and we are expecting even higher demand in the near future.”

Demand is coming mainly from construction projects, such as the Hemus highway in Bulgaria. “In Serbia the market is booming because different construction projects are stepped up by the government with the upcoming general election in June and the end of the measures against Covid-19 in May,” the representative says.

Romania is also enjoying strong steel demand thanks to construction projects. A Russian mill is heard by traders to have concluded a rebar sale to Romania on Monday at $375-380/tonne fob Black Sea. The tonnage was not specified. Offers could reach $400/t in the near future.

In the more specialist steel segment, Beltrame’s Romania-based Donalam plant recently completed a €4 million ($4.3m) investment into a special steel bar treatment line (see Kallanish passim). This will allow the company to offer steel bar products with increased added value. Given the volatility in the global steel market, the company’s target for 2020 is to maintain its market share in Europe by identifying new business niches, it says.