EU steel imports fall but become more volatile

Imports of both flat and long steel reduced during the first ten months of 2019 but became increasingly more volatile on a monthly basis, Kallanish learns from the latest data published by Eurofer.

The reduction in imports was caused mainly by the putting in place of the safeguard system, coupled with a slowdown in demand. According to the data on Eurofer website, overall imports during the January-October period lowered by 3 million tonnes year-on-year to 22.2mt.

Longs’ imports reduced by 1.3mt y-o-y to 4.9mt, while flats’ imports did likewise by some 1.5mt to 17.2mt.

Apart from reducing the overall volumes, the safeguard system nevertheless increased the volatility of the monthly volumes. In July 2019, for example, as new quotas became available, flat imports more than doubled compared with June, to over 2.5mt. Long imports in July marked a historical monthly record at over 1.1mt, above the previous record of 1mt witnessed in July 2007.

The slowdown in imports began mainly during the second half of 2019. August, September and October import figures for both flat and long products all registered a reduction y-o-y following the boom in July. November and December imports are also expected to continue to show signs of weakness compared with last year as demand has failed to pick up significantly in Europe, Kallanish notes.