Supply disruptions, energy costs undermine EU recovery: Eurofer

After rebounding strongly in 2021, European steel consumption is expected to grow much slower in 2022 and 2023, by 3.2% and 1.7% respectively on-year, says Eurofer. End-use demand, from the automotive sector in particular, will be seriously impacted at least till mid-2022 by global supply chain issues and soaring energy prices.

EU apparent steel consumption in the third quarter of 2021 rose on-year for the fourth consecutive quarter, by 14.3% to 36 million tonnes, although this was down from 40mt in Q2.

“The positive trend in steel-using industries and in steel demand observed since the end of 2020 continues, but the outlook is becoming gloomier,” Eurofer director general Axel Eggert says in a note sent to Kallanish. “Ongoing supply chain disruptions, skyrocketing energy and carbon prices as well as persisting inflation are putting the recovery of the steel sector at risk. Combined with the current EU climate and energy policies, these are the ingredients of a dangerous cocktail that may drive Europe into a structural crisis and industry out of Europe.”

EU domestic deliveries also rose in Q3, by 6.6% on-year, but slowed from 40% growth in Q2. EU steel imports surged 47.7% in Q3 following 45% growth in Q2. Steel end-use sector output growth slowed to 3.2% in Q3 from 29.2% in Q2.

“The current situation jeopardises the recovery and casts substantial uncertainty on the overall steel-using industries’ outlook, at least until the first half of 2022,” Eurofer concludes.

Adam Smith Germany