Voestalpine eyes resurging car production in 2022

The automotive sector, currently slowed down by a lack of semiconductor chips, will flourish again next year, believes voestalpine chief executive Herbert Eibensteiner.

“We are optimistic for next year, because at some point the vehicles have to be built,” he said on Thursday at the Gewinn, a finance industry trade fair in Vienna. Apart from the car sector, demand for voestalpine products is healthy in almost all customer segments, he is quoted as saying by Austria’s Industriemagazin. He is upbeat about the next two years, because of the catch-up effects that must and will occur, he said, citing international economic researchers.

While some raw material and energy prices are reaching record levels, counteracting effects are providing a balance, he noted, referring to the fall in iron ore prices versus the rise in coal prices.

The multitude of criteria affecting steel demand and prices is giving all players a hard time, and actually unnerves many customers, a manager at an Austrian service centre concurs.

A southern German coil buyer takes Eibensteiner’s optimism a step further, to a possibly critical point in time. “Once the chip supply gets going again, the conveyer belts might quickly restart at high speed,” and steel demand could see another leap upwards, he tells Kallanish.

Amid the unpredictable see-saw of variables, price offers vary widely, all players agree. While in the Benelux prices for hot rolled coil from northwest European mills are still seen above the historical threshold of €1,000/tonne ($1,164) ex-works, lower offers are reported from southern Germany and Austria.

Here, more influence on local prices is exerted by Eastern European mills with offers of as low as €850/t delivered. Prices for cold rolled coil as well as hot-dip galvanized coil from domestic sources do not go much beyond €1,150, if that. In the Benelux, however, these prices can reach towards or go above €1,200/t.

Christian Koehl Germany