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Economic and steel market outlook 2020-2021, third quarter
The COVID-19 pandemic has slashed steel consumption forecasts as well as the overall economic outlook across the EU and the world. Shutdown measures implemented by governments starting from March 2020 have hugely impacted manufacturing activity and steel-using industrial sectors, although these measures have been almost completely removed – or broadly eased - at the time of writing. This has affected the automotive sector in particular, but it and other industries had already been experiencing subdued developments in the second half of 2019 due to the downslide of the manufacturing sector in the EU, escalating trade wars between the US and several of its main trading partners and persistent uncertainty regarding Brexit. All of these factors combined led to continued further deterioration in business sentiment and curbed investment growth throughout 2019, even before the onset of the pandemic.
Actual data for apparent consumption reported here refers to the first quarter of 2020, which only partly reflect the effects of the pandemic on the industry and the economy as severe lockdown measures were only implemented across most EU members states from the second half of March 2020.
However, economic prospects and steel consumption outlook reflect the dramatic deterioration due to the expected consequences of the pandemic. The outlook for this year and for 2021 is particularly affected by the Covid-19 related disruption and is likely to be revised again later in the year in EUROFER’s later quarterly outlooks.
At the time of writing, lockdown measures had been almost completely removed or considerably eased in most EU member states, which had allowed industrial activity to restart. The implementation of the containment measures that had been put in place in EU member states led to an almost complete shutdown of industrial activity in the second half of March and in April. The unprecedented nature of this crisis makes uncertainty and volatility surrounding possible developments in the coming months means still high.
EUROFER holds bi-annual seminars on the state of the EU steel market. This event will be held ahead of the release of EUROFER's quarterly economic and market outlook. This quarter's edition will be online only due to COVID restrictions.
The European Commission published, on 21 September 2020, its revision of the EU ETS State Aid guidelines for the compensation of indirect carbon costs for the period 2021-2030.
The EU's Joint Research Centre has just published a detailed report on production costs for iron and steel in the EU and third countries, exploring the various production factors that make up the competitiveness of these sectors.