Italian steel market still a challenge: Federacciai

“We are still experiencing a moment of great uncertainty,” Alessadro Banzato, president of the Italian steelmaker association Federacciai said on July 15 during a meeting of the group in which he was confirmed for another two years at the helm.

“The two key steel industry [markets], cars and construction, are still in extreme difficulty with very worrying numbers, so it is difficult to say today if we will experience a substantial recovery in the coming months, also because the effects of the various measures implemented by the government are not visible yet.”

On July 15 Anfia, Italy’s automotive Industry association, said that from January to June just 584,052 new cars were registered, a 46% decline from the same period of a year ago.

According to Federacciai’s data, in the first five months of the year Italian steel output stood at 8.3 million mt, down 21% on year. Italy, Europe’s second largest steel producer after Germany, did worse compared to the rest of Europe. In the first five months of the year, EU(28) production stood at 58.3 million mt, down 17.3% on the same period of the previous year.

According to market sources, the Italian steel market is in a “stabilization” mode with mills working to balance demand and supply while pushing for higher steel prices to offset costs. After a positive start to 2020, HRC gaining some 6% between January and February to a year to date high of Eur458/mt EXW South Europe on March 2, the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdowns drove European steel prices lower. From the March high, HRC prices fell 14% reaching Eur387.50/mt at the start of July – price levels last seen in August 2016.

Federacciai is part of Confindustria and has about 130 associated companies that manufacture and transform over 95% of Italian steel production. The Italian steel sector has about Eur40 billion in annual sales and employs about 70,000 workers direct and indirectly.

— Annalisa Villa, Len Griffin