EU steel market overview
In the third quarter of 2022, apparent steel consumption fell (-11.2%), reaching its lowest level since the pandemic (32.2 million tonnes). Further significant drops were in the fourth quarter of 2022 and would be at least until the first half of 2023, resulting in two consecutive recessions (-4.6% in 2022 and -1.9% in 2023), the third and fourth in only five years. A better outlook (+1.6%) is expected in 2024, but it will be contingent on the evolution of energy prices, Russia's war in Ukraine, and its impact on inflation and global supply chains.
Domestic deliveries fell (-10.5%) for the third consecutive quarter, paralleling sluggish demand. Imports fell sharply (-17.2%), reversing the expansionary trend that had been in place since 2021 for the first time.
EU steel-using sectors
Steel-using sectors' resilience has allowed for the continuation of a steady growth trend that began after the pandemic. The strong performance of the construction, mechanical engineering, and transportation sectors, particularly automotive (+20.7%), could offset the negative dynamic of domestic appliances (-0.3%). Growth in steel-using sectors is expected to slow in the fourth quarter of 2022. However, general output should increase (+2.1%) in 2022.
The consequences of high energy prices, the continuation of the war in Ukraine, and the disruptions caused by it are expected to linger and become more significant in the first half of 2023. This could result in the second (-0.6%) decline in Steel Weighted Industrial Production (SWIP) since 2013. If a positive scenario is confirmed and confidence returns, a gradual recovery (+1.6%) is expected in 2024.
EUROFER outlook on market demand