German crude steel production to return to growth in 2013, WV Stahl says

Crude steel output in Germany is expected to return to growth in 2013, following an expected 4% year-on-year fall to 42.5 million tonnes in 2012, German steel association WV Stahl said on Monday November 5.

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Rolled steel production next year, meanwhile, is expected to rise by 2-3% year-on-year to an estimated 39.5 million tonnes, from a projected 6% year-on-year fall to 38.6 million tonnes in 2012, the association said ahead of its international steel conference, Stahl 2012, in Düsseldorf on November 8-9.

WV Stahl emphasises, however, that any forecasts for 2013 depend on politicians containing the eurozone debt crisis and restoring confidence in the markets if the German steel sector is to recover in 2013.

The association expects next year to bring a gradual improvement in investment demand and a recovery in the global economy supporting German exports, as the steel market will begin the new year with lower stock levels, it added.

In the light of the forecast continuation of the downward trend until February, the association remains cautious, however.

“Because of the continuing uncertainty, we are not counting on 2013 to bring restocking to a great extent,” the industry body said, “but for current headwinds to be reduced.”

General conditions in the German steel market will continue to be difficult, owing to strong international competition, the association added, while its competitiveness internationally is compromised by a high level of trade restrictions.