EU Service Centres surpass pre-pandemic activity in September

European flat steel service centres (SSC) registered in September a level of sales above the one registered in September 2019. They thus reached pre-coronavirus levels for the first time since the pandemic begun to spread through Europe in late February.

Strip mill product shipments from SSC rose 3.7% year-on-year in September; in August, volumes were still some -1.5% down y-o-y. Despite the recovery in September, aggregated January-September shipments remained down -16.1% y-o-y, according to the latest Eurometal numbers.

The boost for SSC was mainly fuelled by the recovery in the automotive sector. Multi product and proximity steel distributors continued to face some challenges, however.

September shipments for all steel products from general distributors decreased -2.1% y-o-y. “Only merchant bars, hot-rolled flats and cold-rolled flats had positive trends in September,” Eurometal says in a note sent to Kallanish.

Despite the slower performance in September, nine-month shipments for multi-products distributors were down only -11.9% y-o-y, confirming that the pandemic impact was less severe for this sector.