EU flat steel distributor shipments show small decline for Jan-Feb 2022

European distributors of flat steel products reported a minor year-on-year drop in shipment volumes for January-February 2022, regional steel industry association Eurometal said on Tuesday April 19. In the first two months of 2022, flat steel shipments in the EU decreased by 0.3% year-on-year, compared with a rise of 4.3% for the month of January.

European coil prices were largely flat at high levels in January-February, gaining strength from good order books and high costs at mills. But late in February, prices started to increase further on “hysterical demand” due to Russia’s war against Ukraine.

The war in Ukraine, followed by sanctions against Russia and its ally Belarus, have interrupted global supply chains, including supplies of raw material, especially to Eastern European mills.

Fastmarkets’ calculation of its daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe, averaged €920.41 ($993.24) per tonne in February 2022, up month on month by €4.01 per tonne from €916.40 per tonne, and up year-on-year by €222.62 per tonne from €697.79 per tonne.

Market sentiment, however, has soured recently due to slowing automotive demand, and competitive import offers. Automotive output has been in decline recently due to component shortages, notably semiconductor chips.

Eurometal’s stock index for flat steel service centers in the EU was 106 in February 2022, compared with 86 in February 2021. The index uses the 2018 average as its 100-point basis.

Stock levels at EU steel service centers averaged 72 days’ worth of supply in February 2022, compared with 64 days in the corresponding month of 2021.

Multi-product distributor shipments in the EU and UK decreased by 9.40% year-on-year in January-Februry 2022, Eurometal data showed. Only merchant bar, rebar, stainless steel and plate showed higher shipments, while all other products showed declines.

Published by: Julia Bolotova