Klöckner expects stabilising markets, lower prices in 2023

Klöckner & Co expects global steel markets will increasingly normalise this year. A stronger demand trend in the company’s key European and US markets will bring a considerable increase in shipments compared to 2022, it predicts.

Last year, the volume of shipments dropped by 4% on-year to 4.7 million tonnes, owing to a disciplined margin-over-volume strategy in early 2022, and negative macroeconomic environment in the second half, Klöckner says. Regarding the development of prices, the German-based steel distribution group expects a lower level overall compared to the prior-year period and correspondingly lower revenue.

At the group’s annual press conference in Dusseldorf last week, attended by Kallanish, chief executive Guido Kerkhoff stated that overall demand in the first two months of 2023 in Europe and the USA “has been stronger than we had thought”. Sold volumes have risen quarter-on-quarter, as the automotive industry recovers from shortages, books at plant-builders are full, and infrastructure projects are a driver mainly in the USA.

In 2022, high average prices boosted the group’s revenue significantly year-on-year to €9.4 billion ($10 billion). Despite the challenging economic environment, it achieved what it says was a strong operating income (Ebitda) of €417 million before material special effects, after €848m in 2021.

Christian Koehl Germany