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EU Finished Steel Imports in 9 Months Dip by 14% YoY

Steel News - Published on Wed, 05 Feb 2020

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EUROFER latest report showed that total imports of steel products into the EU28, including semi-finished products, decreased by a modest 1.1% YoY in the third quarter of 2019, compared to the very pronounced fall observed in the second quarter (-19.4% year-on-year). Over the first eleven months of 2019, the fall in EU imports from third countries amounted to 11%. Since January 2019, monthly data have shown increasing volatility, with a peak in July when imports jumped by a spectacular 37% year-on-year, but then decreased over the following months to more usual levels. Finished product imports fell by 31% year-on-year in November, due to a 27% year-on-year drop in flat product imports and a 39% reduction in long product imports. The average monthly import volume of finished products over the January to December 2019 period amounted to 2.04 million tonnes. Compared to the average level of monthly imports recorded over the same period one year earlier, total finished product imports were 14% lower. Semis imports decreased year-on-year in November by 23% and in the January to November 2019 period were 4% lower than the same period of 2018. Despite this reduction, the import penetration ratio of imports into total steel supply remained, from a historic perspective, on a high level during 2019.

Over the first eleven months of 2019 the main countries of origin for finished steel imports into the EU market were Turkey, Russia, South Korea, China and India. These five countries represented 65% of total finished steel imports into the EU. Over the above period, Turkey remained the largest exporter of finished steel products to the EU, accounting for 23% of total EU finished steel imports. However, it is worth highlighting that the volume of imports from Turkey marginally decreased (i.e. by -0.7%) compared to the first eleven months of 2018; the same trend can be observed for other major countries of origin, but with steeper falls in imports, such as Brazil, India, Taiwan, and South Korea. The only exceptions were imports from Ukraine, which recorded a double-digit increase and from Serbia, which rose only moderately.

According to SURV2 data for December, the decline in EU imports of finished steel products that had followed a substantial increase during 2018 continued up to December 2019, albeit slowing down. Customs data show that flat product imports dropped by 7% year-on-year over the third quarter of 2019, a lower fall than the -18% recorded in the second quarter. Total flat product imports fell by 11% over the whole year 2019. Meanwhile, long product imports rose by 28% year-on-year in the third quarter of 2019, in sharp contrast with the considerable drop in imports that was recorded in the second quarter. However, imports of long products fell over the whole of 2019 by 23%. The share of long products in total finished steel product imports rose to 29% in the third quarter of 2019 (from 22% in the second quarter). Within the flat product market segment, imports of organic coated sheet increased by 5% in 2019, while hot- rolled wide strip imports fell by 10% and also hot dipped cold rolled imports decreased by 12%, while imports of quarto plate recorded an even steeper fall (-16%). Equally, all long product imports in 2019 were significantly lower than the import volumes registered in 2018. The sharpest fall was recorded for wire rod, i.e. -26%. Similarly, imports of merchant bars and heavy sections dropped by 23% and 25% respectively.

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Posted By : Rabi Wangkhem on Wed, 05 Feb 2020
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