Economic and market outlook

Economic and steel market outlook 2020-2021, fourth quarter

Fourth quarter 2020 report. Data up to, and including, second quarter 2020.

Economic market report Q4 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to rage across Europe, with all steel-using sectors being affected. Apparent steel consumption in the EU fell (-25.5%) year-on-year in the second quarter of 2020, after a drop (-12%) in the first quarter. This was the most severe drop in EU steel consumption ever recorded.

The exceptionally negative trend in steel demand seen in the second quarter of 2020 is – as widely expected – the result of the economic and industrial lockdown in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Industrial activity restarted over the third quarter – when government COVID measures were largely lifted. Figures for the period will likely show a considerable rebound in GDP as well in industrial production, compared to record lows observed in the second quarter. This brief recovery may now be at risk if there is a COVID-induced ‘double-dip’ recession.

The unprecedented nature and evolution of this crisis means uncertainty and volatility surrounding possible developments in the coming months is still high. The outlook for this year and for 2021 remains very uncertain, given that COVID-measures are now being reimposed across the EU.

Total output in steel-using sectors fell (-21.3%) in the second quarter of 2020 after falling (-6.5%) in the first quarter.

Economic market report Q4 2020

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Published: 28 October 2020


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