EUROFER statistical definitions

EUROFER's statistics are created on the basis of certain definitions of products, qualities and calculation methods.

EUROFER statistical definitions

EUROFER's statistics are created on the basis of certain definitions of products, qualities and calculation methods.

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EUROFER publishes a range of statistical data, each compiled according to strict definitions and requirements to ensure that they are an accurate representation of the European steel sector's production, market supply and employment, as well as real and apparent steel consumption, and trade situation.

The relevant definitions are included below in order to aid users of EUROFER's statistics in understanding what they mean and what is and is not included in a given statistic.

Apparent consumption is also referred to as ‘steel demand’. It is total deliveries of all steel products and qualities by EU producers plus imports less 'receipts' into the EU, minus exports to third countries. In other words, apparent consumption is deliveries by EU producers plus imports minus receipts (that is, imports by EU producers themselves of material that is further processed), minus exports to third countries. EUROFER’s definition of apparent consumption includes all qualities, including stainless, and all finished products and semi-finished products.

If apparent consumption exceeds real steel consumption, the surplus is stocked in the distribution chain. If apparent consumption is less than real steel consumption, inventories are being withdrawn.

Real consumption is the use of all steel products used by steel-using sectors in their production processes, also referred to as the ‘final use’ of steel products, adjusted for the stock cycle.

Market supply is total deliveries made by EU producers onto the EU market plus imports from third countries, not including imports known as ‘receipts’, by EU producers themselves for further processing (to avoid double counting). In other words, market supply is total deliveries plus imports, minus receipts. This all qualities less stainless.

Crude steel is the term used to describe the first solid state of steel after it has solidified from its liquid state. It thus describes steel that is further transformed after having been cast into semi-finished products such as slabs, billets and blooms.

Finished steel is the term used to describe products obtained upon hot rolling/forging of semi-finished steel products, such as blooms, billets or slabs - colloquially known in the industry as 'semis'. These cover two broad categories of products, namely 'long' products and 'flat' products.

Semi-finished steel products - colloquially known in the steel sector as 'semis' are intermediate steel products, formed in modern steel facilities through continuous casting. These intermediate semi-finished steel products are subsequently further processed to become finished products.

There are three main categories of semi-finished steel product. These are:

  • Slabs, which generally go on to become flat products such as hot or colled-rolled coils, or heavy 'quarto' plate.
  • Billets, which generally go on to become long products such as bars, rebar and tube rounds.
  • Blooms, which generally go on to become long products such as structural shapes (such as girders for use in construction) or rails for the train sector.


Long products describe a category of products that are derived from billets and blooms. They are, as the name suggests, often long or narrow in their dimensions. They include:

  • Bars and rods:  Long steel products made through the hot rolling or forging of billets and blooms. They include come in a variety of dimensions for different uses, including rounds, flats (that is, flat bars), square section, hexagons, octagons and so on. These are used in a variety of mechanical engineering, household and construction applications.
  • Rebar: Hot rolled round bars or rods with indentations/ribs normally supplied in straight length or in folded bundles. These are primarily used in construction applications to reinforce concrete, whence the name: REinforcing BAR - rebar.

  • Wire rod:  Hot rolled plain bars or rods (without indentation) sold in bundles of coils. This is normally used to produce steel wires and, with further processing, bright bars.
  • Angles, shapes and sections Hot rolled structural sections made by hot rolling blooms or billets. Products include angles, channels, girders, joists, and I and H beams used in construction.
  • Rails Hot rolled rail sections made by hot rolling blooms or billets. These are used to make the tracks to move rail rolling stock.
  • Wire Wires are created through the cold drawing of wire rod through a die. They are normally supplied in coils.
  • Bright bars  These are cold drawn, ground or peeled bars produced from hot rolled plain bars or wire rod.

Flat products are produced from slabs - a semi-finished product. These are generally sold either as flat sections, as is the case with 'quarto plate', or coils, either hot or cold, which are rolled lengths coiled up to make transportation easier.


Different types of flat products are:

  • Quarto plate: A thick, flat, finished product with a width of at least 500mm and a thickness of at least 5mm. These are supplied in cut-to-length plates.
  • Sheets/coils: Thin flat finished steel products, with a width of at least 500mm and a thickness of less than 5mm. These are either supplied in cut-to-length or as coils. This product is sold either as hot rolled for final use or for processing into coated or cold rolled products.
  • Strips:  Hot, cold or coated flat rolled products, supplied in coils. Known as hot rolled, cold rolled or coated strips. Depending upon width, strips are sub-classified as wide strip or narrow strip. 
    Wide strips have a width of 600mm and above and narrow strip which is 600mm or less. 
  • Hot-Dipped Galvanised (HDG) or coated: Galvanisation adds a coating of zinc to outer layers of steel. HDG is used in applications which require greater levels of corrosion resistance. Coated or 'organic coated' products can also be shipped painted or laminated in plastic for specific applications. Organic coated steel products are used in all sectors of industry. In building and construction, profiles are used for wall cladding and roofing, and also for applications such as suspended ceilings, lighting etc. In general industry, these products have a variety of applications, including metal furniture, HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) and many others. And the advantages of organic coated steel products are, of course, well known in the domestic appliance market, where they are successfully used for white goods (refrigerators, washing machines etc) and small kitchen appliances (microwave ovens etc). Brown goods (LCDs, LED TV back panels, computer casings, VCR & DVD casings etc) are another successful application. 

Hot rolled (often abbreviated HR) flat steel products are made re-rolling 'semi-finished' slabs at a high temperature (above 1000°C) in plate mills, which produce quarto plates, or in hot strip mills which produce strips and coils. The resultant Hot Rolled Coils (HRC) can be cut to length or shipped directly to steel-users.or downstream processors. 

Cold rolled steel is produced by 'cold' rolling of hot rolled sheet in a cold rolling mill. This rolling usually takes place in cold rolling mills at room temperature. Cold rolled strips are cut to produce cold rolled sheet or coil, often abbreviated 'CRC'. Cold rolled steels have different properties to the hot rolled steel stock they are made from, including having a better and brighter finish, closer dimensional tolerances, and specific mechanical and metallurgical properties.

Cold rolled steel is used in automobiles, such as cars, buses, trucks and other commercial vehicles, trains and shipbuilding, in white goods, consumer durables and for further processing into coated sheet products.

In both the apparent consumption and market supply statistics, the imports component of the calculation is written, in the EUROFER definition, as 'imports less receipts'

The 'receipts' in this instance mean imports by EU producers themselves of finished or semi-finished steel products that are further processed by the producer and transformed into other products. In the publicly available EUROFER figures, only finished products are shown and thus impacted by the receipts calculation.

This correction is important because it prevents double-counting that would artificially inflate the size of the market. If an EU producer imports a tonne of hot rolled strip that it further processes into a tonne of cold rolled which it then delivers to the EU market - in an uncorrected calculation the import of one tonne would then become one imported tonne plus one EU-processed and delivered tonne. The imported tonne is thus corrected out in the import side of the market supply and apparent consumption figures. 

This does not impact the publicly available EUROFER import and export statistics, where all finished steel imports or exports into or out of the EU regardless of their subsequent uses in the steel value chain.


EUROFER applies the so-called 'narrow definition' which excludes steel tubes and first transformation products from the product scope used for calculating steel consumption. Hence, the steel tube sector is a steel-using sector under this definition.

Steel intensity is the ratio of real steel consumption to steel weighted production in the steel-using sectors. This reflects the usually slightly negative impact on consumption of innovation in steel products, inter-material substitution, improvements in process efficiency and design, etc.

SWIP is the abbreviation for Steel Weighted Industrial Production index. It is used as a proxy for real steel consumption. Activity in the steel-using sectors is weighted with the relative share of each sector in total steel consumed by all sectors.

Published: 28 April 2020. Most recent update: 29 April 2020.

The European Steel Association (EUROFER)
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Phone: +32 (0) 2 738 79 20