Costlier energy impacts Spain’s steel industry: Unesid

The Spanish steel sector witnessed a decline in output in 2023 to practically the same level as in 2020, when Covid-19 paralysed industrial activity, according to data issued by the local steelmakers association Unesid. Despite the production drop, consumption and recycling activity in the sector rose.

The forecast for 2024 is moderate optimism, delegates tell Kallanish on the sidelines of the EUROMETAL Steel Net Forum Iberia in Santiago de Compostela.

“The Spanish steel industry faced persistent challenges due to the high energy price,” Unesid general director, Andrés Barceló, explains. The average of the electricity pool was 87.1 KWh, almost double that in 2019, affecting the sector’s competitiveness. Likewise, Unesid assures that high CO2 costs and the slowdown in European steel demand continue to hamper activity.

“Despite the turbulence of the last two years, the initial data for 2024 invites optimism,” adds Barceló.

Barceló confirms that the industry is committed to decarbonisation but needs the support of the Spanish authorities to guarantee the competitiveness of steel companies.

In 2023 the country produced 11.4 million tonnes of steel, 1.2% less than the previous year. Ferrous scrap recycling was up 3.2% year-on-year to 9.3mt.

Domestic consumption reached 12.6mt, a growth of 1.2% compared with 2022. From these, imports by third countries represented more than 30% of total demand.

Spain remained a net importer in 2023. The country had a negative trade balance, with entries exceeding exports by 2.5mt. Imports rose by 3.3% y-o-y to 10.1mt, while shipments abroad totalled 7.6mt, or 5.8% less than 2022, Unesid data shows.

Todor Kirkov Bulgaria