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Europe hit by steel import surge

European steel association Eurofer said that steel imports into Europe have risen sharply as a result of US tariffs, particularly from Turkey, threatening European steelmakers as demand growth in the continent slows. Eurofer said in its quarterly review it expected European Union apparent steel consumption, a reflection of supply to the market, would rise by 2.2 percent this year and by 1.1 percent in 2019. It said that trade frictions with the United States and cooling global demand had weakened prospects for EU steel users.

Karl Tachelet, Eurofer’s trade director, said the US tariffs had led to a surge in US steel prices of some 40 percent, meaning European producers could still sell some steel there. He said “The question for us is how long are the US prices going to stay that high. There will be some correction and when prices go down the 25 percent will be more prohibitive.”

Turkey, facing a 50 percent tariff, could no longer realistically sell across the Atlantic, while slowing domestic growth left it with more steel to sell. Jeroen Vermeij, director of economic studies at Eurofer, said “They are pushing a lot of volumes into the EU market at any cost.”

In the third quarter 2018, Eurofer said steel consumption had risen by just 0.6 percent, but imports increased by 10 percent, meaning EU mills were at best only able to deliver the same amount of steel as last year. Imports now make up some 25 percent of the EU market. Imports from Turkey and Russia increased by most – from Turkey by 57 percent in the first nine months and from Russia by 56 percent.
Source : REUTERS
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