Polish steel consumption shows steady growth in near term

Poland’s apparent steel consumption for 2015 reached 12.5 million metric tons, up by 1.6% year-on-year, the highest result in 12 years, Piotr Sikorski, the marketing and PR director at Polish Union of Steel Distributors (PUDS), said at the EUROMETAL Central European regional meeting in Prague this week.

The country should register further growth this and next year with finished steel consumption expected to reach 12.8 million mt and 13.1 million mt respectively, Sikorski noted.

From the 12.5 million mt of finished products used last year 6.9 million mt were flat products, 4.6 million mt longss and 1 million mt of tubes and hollow sections. This year apparent steel consumption of flats should inch up to 7.1 million mt, while longs usage should be at 4.7 million mt.

Construction remains the main consumer, accounting for 44% of the total, followed by metal products (16%), machinery (10%), tubes (9%) and automotive (8%), the PUDS representative said.

Rising consumption seems to be benefiting importers more than local producers, as the country’s imports grew steadily from 5.5 million mt in 2009 to 9.1 million mt in 2014 and dipped only 0.1 million mt last year (to 9 million mt). The imports outpaced the exports which grew from 4 million in 2009 to 4.9 million mt last year.

Imports are dominated by flat products, representing 65-66% of the total in the last three years. The EU countries remain the main trading partners for Poland although non-EU states are still significant, accounting for 34% of the total imports, mostly from the CIS.

Last year imports from Russia jumped 37% y-o-y, to over 600,000 mt. At the same time, imports from Ukraine contracted 18% y-o-y to slightly over 800,000 mt from over a million in 2013. Imports of long products from Belarus, doubled last year, to approach 300,000 mt. China remains less relevant for the Polish market, although volumes are growing, to around 150,000-160,000 mt in 2015, 9% up y-o-y.

Wojtek Laskowski, PLATTS