Unesid demands urgent measures for the steel sector

The Spanish steel sector says expressed its concern that working at less of half of its usual capacity will be unsustainable beyond a few months. The activity was sharply impacted by the Covid-19 outbreak in April, registering a record low, the Spain`s steelmakers’ association Unesid says in a note seen by Kallanish.

“The size of the deterioration of the sector is serious and requires explicit support with measures to maintain its more than 60,000 jobs as well as steel manufacturing activity that is basic in certain regions of the country,” Unesid warns. The steel-consuming sectors need to return to their pre-confinement activity, either by promoting private demand, as with automobiles, or directly through public actions, as in construction, the association proposes.

The European steel sector awaits actions from the European Commission and a review of safeguard measures. “The Commission’s first proposal benefits only a few products. A more general and far-reaching action is needed, also reflecting for the future since these measures will be extinguished in 2021,” Unesid demands. “The EU industry produces under much more demanding environmental standards than those from outside the region and develops an important capacity for innovation with a commitment to climate neutrality before 2050,” the association explains.

The Spanish steel sector produced 626,000 tonnes of crude steel in April, a drop of -52% year-on-year. As a comparison, in a typical July or December, when activity is usually most reduced, Spanish output ranges from 900,000t to 1 million tonnes. The lowest monthly production registered during the last financial crisis in 2008/09 was 725,000t, according to Unesid.

The fall in output was seen in almost all steel products, although it was greater in the automotive sector, which was practically halted in April. Only tinplate output continued at its usual rate given its need in the food industry.