EUROFER: Apparent steel use in EU to rebound in 2021 amid better demand
Apparent steel consumption in the EU rose by 3.3 percent year on year in the fourth quarter last year, recording the first quarterly growth since the fourth quarter of 2019, and amounting to 35.2 million mt, according to the European Steel Association’s (EUROFER) latest Economic and Market Outlook.
The full year of 2020 was considerably impacted by the pandemic and saw apparent steel consumption in the EU plummet by 11.1 percent.
EUROFER said it expects apparent steel consumption in the EU to rebound by 11.7 percent in 2021 and to grow by 4.9 percent in 2022 due to continued improvement in demand from steel-using sectors.
The EUROFER report stated that the pandemic caused steel consumption to collapse and shattered the overall economic outlook across the world. The loosening of lockdown measures over the third quarter allowed industrial activity to restart. As a result, both steel-using industrial output and steel demand experienced a considerable quarter-onquarter rebound over the third and fourth quarters last year, compared to the record lows seen in the second quarter.
The fresh wave of the pandemic that hit Europe at the start of the fourth quarter last year led to new lockdowns which cast a shadow on the overall recovery. However, in the fourth quarter of 2020 industrial output all over the EU recorded a considerable second consecutive quarter-on-quarter rebound, driven by the faster-than-expected recovery in output in some sectors, particularly in the domestic appliance and automotive sectors.
In 2020, output in EU steel-using sectors fell by 10.4 percent year on year. Steel-using sectors’ output growth over the fourth quarter was still negative at 1.9 percent, but at a much lower rate than the third quarter.
EUROFER stated that this could pave the way for a stronger acceleration in industrial recovery over the first quarter of 2021, despite persistent economic uncertainty due the ongoing pandemic across the EU.
According to EUROFER, although the general economic recovery in the EU appears to be uneven, the recovery in steel-using industries and in steel demand should continue through 2021.