The European Steel Association’s (EUROFER) recent steel market overview hailed 2017 as an “expansionary” year for the industry while also issuing positive sentiment about 2018 and 2019.
The overview said apparent steel consumption in Q3 2017 rose 1.1% year over year in the European Union.
As for imports, it was a tale of two halves.
According to the report, imports rose 8% year over year in the first half of 2017. That reversed in the second half, however, and imports ultimately fell 14% for the year as a whole.
“This decline has occurred in the context of improving in global steel prices – largely driven by the Chinese market – which narrowed the gap between EU domestic prices and imports,” the Eurofer market overview states. “Other restraining factors include the moderation of imports, particularly from China, but also other countries affected by the imposition of anti-dumping and anti-subsidy measures by the European Commission. However, other third country suppliers have triggered increased exports to the EU, substituting for this drop.”
Eurofer estimated steel demand jumped by approximately 1.9% in 2017. The association indicated positive feelings that that upward momentum can continue in 2018 and 2019.'
“Prospects for the continued recovery of EU steel demand are positive,” said Axel Eggert, director general of Eurofer. “The expected strength of most steel-using sectors bodes well for the demand side of the EU steel market. The supply side situation could, however, continue to be negatively affected by import distortions.”
Last year was an expansionary one for steel-using sectors, according to Eurofer, with notable growth in Central Europe, in particular.
“The outlook for 2018 and 2019 is positive, although activity in steel-using sectors will settle back into a more moderate pace of expansion owing to waning momentum in the tube sector and automotive industry,” the report states. “Underlying economic conditions remain supportive to a steady pace of expansion in other sectors.”