Europe’s steel consumption is expected to recover by 11.7pc in 2021 and inch up by 4.9pc in 2022, to return to 2017 levels following improved demand, a report by the European Steel Association (Eurofer) noted.
Total production in the EU steel-using sector decreased by 10.4pc in 2020. On a quarterly basis, Q2 2020 output plummeted 25pc, while Q3 and Q4 recorded production declines of 6.7pc and 1.9pc, respectively, according to Eurofer data released on Thursday.
EU steel consumption nosedived 11.1pc in 2020, with a 25pc drop in Q2, followed by a 10.4pc decline in Q3. Q4 2020 witnessed an apparent 3.3pc increase in steel consumption from the EU28 nations. In terms of volume, total steel usage from these countries was 35.2mn mt in that quarter.
Overall domestic deliveries in the EU declined by 9.7pc last year and dropped 6.8pc in Q3 2020. Steel shipments within the EU increased by 4.5pc in Q4 2020, mirroring supply and demand recoveries.
Total imports from countries outside the EU28 dropped by 7pc in 2020, with the third quarter being the hardest hit at a 25pc decline.
Severe government restrictions and subsequent lockdown regulations owing to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic spilled over from Q1 2020 and deeply impacted production levels in the second quarter last year. The loosening of a few measures in June 2020 witnessed the revival of steel production and consumption, leading to a gradual recovery in the last quarter of the year. However, the EU steel industry remains fragile and at risk.
Full-year 2020 data confirms two aspects: first, it was one of the worst years for Europe’s steel industry, and second that there is a rebound underway, according to Axel Eggert, director-general of Eurofer.