The latest trade data published by Eurofer confirm the slump in EU imports and the stability of exports in 2019.
As largely anticipated, steel imports into the EU fell by almost -15% year-on-year in 2019 to 25.3 million tonnes. According to Eurofer data, the level registered was the lowest since 2015.
All products experienced a decline in imports, including cold rolled coil, coated coil, rebar and wire rod. Hot rolled coil imports also moved down to an average of 634,000 t/month. Turkey remained the biggest importer but also reduced its average monthly imports compared with 2018, Kallanish notes.
The reduction in imports was caused partially by the new safeguard system and partially by the slow demand registered in Europe during 2019. Apparent steel consumption moved down by -3.3% y-o-y in 2019, according to Eurofer. A recovery of over 1% y-o-y is expected for 2020.
On the export front, 2019 volumes remained stable compared with 2018, at some 20.5mt. This helped the EU to close its trade deficit in finished steel. It is worth noting, nevertheless, that the figure registered in 2019 remains a record-low level for Europe; back in 2012 exports surpassed 27mt.