Eurofer confirms gloomy outlook, slightly raises demand forecast

Eurofer issued last week its latest quarterly economic outlook, confirming that the European steel industry is going through a year of decline versus 2021.

For 2022, Eurofer now expects apparent steel demand to fall 1.7% year-on-year to 147 million tonnes. The previous forecast in May was for a 1.9% drop. In 2023 apparent steel demand should bounce back by over 5% y-o-y, Eurofer explains.

For real consumption of steel in Europe, the latest outlook indicates it should recover by 1.5% this year and 3.1% next year, Kallanish notes.

“A gloomier outlook for the steel market for the rest of 2022 is consolidating and will most likely have spill over effects also on 2023,” says Axel Eggert, director general of Eurofer. “We have been facing skyrocketing energy prices and bottlenecks in supply chains for almost a year now, and the dire consequences of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine for half a year. Yet, there is no sign that uncertainty will ease anytime soon, while steel imports in the EU are still significant: this is detrimental for a healthy EU steel industry.”

Imports of steel products remained strong during the first half of 2022. Finished products imports have so far increased by some 9% y-o-y. If the trend continues for the remainder of the year, overall 2022 imports of finished products could approach a record level of 35mt.

EU exports of finished products, on the other hand, are continuing the negative trend started in 2021. During the first six months of 2022, these decreased 14% y-o-y.

Overall, the EU’s trade deficit for all steel products amounted to 2.1m t/month during the first six months of this year. In full-year 2021, the trade deficit was 1.5m t/m.

Emanuele Norsa Italy