Italian distributors expect market to improve in 2024

Italian steel trade association Assofermet expects an improvement in 2024 sales and earnings for the local distribution sector thanks to a general positive macroeconomic outlook.

The beginning of this year however is not seen bringing particularly positive changes as consumption is forecast to remain in line with the last months of 2023.

“The improvement in global economies and the end of interest rate hike policies are some of the elements that are driving the positive forecast for the evolution of the market … If it’s true that 2023 was worse than 2022, it is however also true that the results exceeded the pessimistic expectations of 12 months ago,” the association says in its market report sent to Kallanish.

Price reduction was the main trend in 2023 for those involved in the trade and distribution of steel. The bulk of the decline occurred from the second quarter, while during the last three months, the market returned to a stabilisation in prices.

Last year was marked by uncertainty and lower margins for distributors, lower on-year revenue and weaker downstream consumption which caused the drop in prices. The import ban on Russian steel and increase in interest rates in Europe have contributed to generating an excess of supply in the entire EU, Assofermet states.

A similar situation of lack of stability, volume reduction and weaker demand was registered in 2023 in the scrap market, for which the association also forecasts an improvement this year. It points out that besides international and geopolitical issues, the Italian steel market has been strongly impacted by the crisis in the manufacturing industry in Germany, one of the main outlet markets for Italian steel companies.

Natalia Capra France