EUROFER’s Q1-2014 Economic & Steel Market Outlook foresees that momentum in the EU steel market will strengthen in 2014 and 2015.
In the second half of 2013 the EU remained on track for continued but rather fragile economic growth. Meanwhile, forward looking indicators strengthened further to post-2011 peaks, suggesting that a slightly more pronounced upturn is on the cards for 2014. Also hard data on industrial production started to show encouraging signs of improvement lately. All in all, manufacturing activity in the EU looks set to gain strength again.
EUROFER director-general Gordon Moffat: “EUROFER foresees better business conditions in 2014 and 2015. The Eurozone crisis is believed to be largely under control. Although some countries – predominantly France and Italy - are at risk of remaining fragile, ongoing policy reforms will steadily pave the way for better economic, financial and industrial framework conditions. At the same time, the positive outlook for the US and further recovery in Japan will result in the first synchronised economic upturn in the advanced economies since 2009, with positive spin-off effects for other regions”.
Preliminary data for Q4-2013 show that total production in EU’s steel using sectors registered the first positive year-on-year growth in activity since Q4-2011. The latest signals from key steel-using sectors such as automotive are overall rather positive. There is also some evidence that the construction downturn is bottoming out, although country divergences remain significant. Significantly improved sentiment levels in industry at the start of this year appear to confirm that a moderate recovery in the steel using sectors is under way. For 2014-2015 activity in the steel using sectors is seen gradually gaining traction after the weak performance over the past two years.
The sharp year-on-year drop in EU steel demand in the first half of last year was more or less reversed in the second half. Key factors in this positive trend have been the low level of inventories which did not require massive destocking as seen in H2-2012 and real steel consumption slightly outperforming expectations.
Gordon Moffat: “Low stocks meant that the cautious upturn in steel users’ activity translated directly into better demand levels. We expect EU apparent consumption to rise by around 3% in 2014, owing to higher levels of activity in the steel using sectors and as a consequence strengthening real consumption and some restocking in the downstream supply chain. The EU steel market is seen gaining further strength in 2015.”
For the full report, click on the: Economic and Steel Market Outlook 2014-2015
Represented by EUROFER, the European steel industry is the world leader in its sector with a turnover of about EUR 190 billion and direct employment of 420 thousand people, producing 200 million tonnes of steel per year.