UNESID cautiously optimistic for Spanish steel sector in 2024

The Spanish steelmakers association UNESID has shared its 2023 data regarding the steel sector and its forecasts for this year.

Accordingly, the association stated that in 2023, due to high energy costs, local crude steel production decreased by 1.2 percent year on year to 11.4 million mt, which was the level recorded in 2020 and that the sector faced challenges because of the same reason. Despite the drop in production, scrap recycling activities in the country increased by 3.2 percent year on year to 9.3 million mt. Thus, Spain remained among the main recyclers in the EU. However, in the given year, domestic sales amounted to 6.4 million mt, down by 1.3 percent compared to the previous year, which was closer to the level recorded in 2020.

UNESID pointed out that demand in the local market rose by 1.2 percent year on year to 12.6 million mt in 2023. Specifically, demand for long products increased by 4.3 percent, which offset the 0.5 percent decrease in flats demand. Yet, imports from third countries represented more than 30 percent of total domestic consumption. Regarding foreign trade, the association highlighted that in 2023 steel imports went up by 3.3 percent year on year to 10.1 million mt and that imports from third countries, which showed a 1.3 percent decrease, were at the highest level of the last 15 years at 4.1 million mt. On the other hand, total exports from Spain dropped by 5.8 percent compared to 2022 to 7.6 million mt, while exports to third countries were down by 0.7 percent year on year to 2.1 million mt, which was one of the lowest export levels.

Andrés Barceló, general director of UNESID, stated that, despite the ups and downs of the last two years, the preliminary data for this year shows optimism, though it should be approached with caution. Mr. Barceló also pointed out that activity figures have shown some improvement since the end of last year. He also warned that carbon costs and a drop in European industrial demand will continue to affect the steel sector. “The industry is committed to decarbonization, but in order to achieve it, it needs the authorities to facilitate the conditions that guarantee the competitiveness of its companies,” Barceló added.