German steel industry sees no recovery this year
Europe's steel sector overall has a tough year ahead, with EU steel demand, including inventory adjustments, seen down 0.7 percent this year before a 3 percent rise in 2014, European steel producers' lobby group Eurofer said.
"We were hoping to see a slow recovery year on year, but it is just not there," Arnaud Poupart-Lafarge, chief executive of ArcelorMittal's Long Carbon Europe business, said.
ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, last week reported a $3.7 billion group loss for 2012 after writing down the value of its European steel business by several billion dollars.
Consultancy PwC estimates that European steel demand will grow at an annual rate of only 0.6 percent through 2025, well below a global average of 4.5 percent, according to a study published on Wednesday.
Poupart-Lafarge said that he expects consumption of long-steel products, such as bars used in high-rise buildings, bridges or railway tracks, to remain flat in Europe this year.
The EU is now working on a proposal to reinvigorate Europe's steel sector, which employs 360,000 people, with measures covering trade, raw materials and energy policy.
"We need more demand from the automotive, construction and mechanical engineering sectors ... Only if we see growth coming back will we produce more steel," Poupart-Lafarge said.
ArcelorMittal has already reduced production at its long-steel plants and idled several plants as demand went down 30 percent compared with
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