In 2012 the European Union produced a total of 168 million tonnes of crude steel, a fall of 5% from 2011. Production in the second half of the business year fell below that of the first half, following the same trend seen in 2011 set by a reaction to a weakening in steel consumption in the distribution chain.
This fall in steel consumption has stemmed from a reduction in activity in the EU’s steel consuming industries, and unfortunately this looks to continue until late 2013 where the final quarter projections see consumption stabilising.
In 2012 steel consumption saw a fall of almost 10% in the EU, a fall which was more pronounced in the second half of the year. However, exports rose by 9% last year – a rise which was particularly pronounced in semi-finished steel products.
The forecast for the year ahead sees exports remaining at the 2012 level, and with domestic consumption not expected to stabilise until the final quarter of 2013 the market in the EU will remain sluggish.
It is thought that international competition and the stronger Euro may limit growth potential this year, particularly on key exports, however we will be monitoring the production of crude steel through 2013 to see where these trends will change.