EU consumption recovery continues, pandemic risks remain: Eurofer

EU27 apparent steel consumption rose 0.9% on-year in the first quarter to 36.3 million tonnes, reflecting further recovery from last year’s Covid-19 shock, while domestic EU deliveries rose 1%. Imports from outside the EU meanwhile fell 2.5%, the ninth consecutive quarterly drop, says European steelmakers’ association Eurofer.

The association sees the bloc’s overall end-use output rebounding 9.3% on-year in 2021, with growth slowing to 4.6% in 2022.

EU end-use sector output recovery continued in Q1 despite considerable problems in the global supply chain, particularly for the automotive sector – rising transportation costs, rising fuel costs and shortage of components, Eurofer observes. End-use output growth rebounded 2.6% in Q1, the first quarterly increase since Q3 2019.

“Industry in the EU has recovered the output loss experienced during the pandemic, but activity remains exposed to fragility and risks, due to persisting uncertainty around vaccination plans and the ongoing consequences of the pandemic, which is not yet over,” Eurofer says in its latest quarterly report sent to Kallanish.

Industrial output is likely to continue to grow and to gain further ground over the second half of 2021, provided there are no further shocks. Growth in 2021 and 2022 is seen at 8.6% and 4% respectively.

Real steel consumption however fell 0.6% in Q1, the eighth consecutive quarterly drop. It is expected to recover 7.9% on-year in 2021 after the counter-cyclical destocking process seen throughout 2020 came to an end in Q1.

“Government investment and public expenditure are expected to play a rather robust, countercyclical role and could provide a strong contribution to the growth of domestic demand, although the most visible effects will only be visible from 2022,” Eurofer says of the macroeconomic scenario.

Adam Smith Germany