EU steel market inching toward recovery in 2014-15, Eurofer says

The European steel market is expected to move closer to a recovery in 2014 and 2015, regional steel association Eurofer said on Thursday January 23.

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Preliminary data on total production in the EU’s steel-using sectors for the final quarter of 2013 showed the first positive growth in activity since the fourth quarter of 2011, the group said.

Key end-users sectors such as the automotive industry showed positive signals, while the construction downturn could also be bottoming out in some countries.

The association expectsed steel-consuming sectors to see activity gradually gain traction in 2014-15.

“The eurozone crisis is believed to be largely under control,” Eurofer director-general Gordon Moffat said.

Although the economies of France and Italy continue to be fragile, the association expects the positive outlook for the USA and the continued recovery in Japan to improve conditions in other regions.

The second half of last year more or less reversed the sharp year-on-year drop in European steel demand in the first 6 months, owing to low inventory levels and better-than-expected steel consumption.

“We expect EU apparent consumption to rise by about 3% in 2014, owing to higher levels of activity in the steel using sectors,” Moffat said.

“The EU steel market is seen gaining further strength in 2015,” he added.

On Wednesday, Eurofer joined other steel and manufacturing bodies in warning the European Commission that threats to the region’s industry remain.