EU steel imports remain a threat: Eurofer

Steel wire rods ready to be loaded onto a ship at the port

European steelmakers’ association Eurofer has reiterated that imports continue to remain a threat for the region’s industry, despite the slump in volumes seen so far this year.

According to the data analysed by Eurofer through August, overall finished steel imports could fall by -19% year-on-year in 2020, after the drop of -13% y-o-y seen in 2019.

Despite the volume reduction, the association calculates that market share taken by imports is not reducing significantly. European steelmakers will have to continue to cope with the competition from imports, especially if demand recovers further into 2021, it says.

Eurofer notes that imports first-quarter steel market share was some 23.5%; in Q2 this remained at 24% despite the big drop in demand created by lockdowns in Europe in March and April.

It is worth noting, nevertheless, that the impact on imports from a fall in demand is usually seen following a delay, meaning their market share could reduce in Q3 and Q4, Kallanish notes.

In a webcasted press conference on Wednesday, Eurofer added that the issue of imports should further be addressed by the European Commission. However, it remains sceptical over the way safeguard measures have been reviewed lately.

Eurofer has asked in the past for the safeguard quotas to be reduced, in line with the fall of demand currently being seen in the market. This reduction has not been implemented, but the association is still lobbying for the existing safeguard measures to at least remain in place further beyond their expiry date in July 2021.