According to the Economic and Steel Market Outlook 2020-2021/Q4 2020 Report from the Economic Committee of the European Steel Association (EUROFER), total EU imports of steel products from third countries decreased by 17 percent year on year in the second quarter this year. In 2019, imports from third countries had decreased by 11.5 percent year on year. Increasing volatility in 2019 eased considerably after a peak in August of that year. This relatively more stable trend continued up to April of the current year, but then a short-term increase was recorded in July this year.
In the first eight months this year, finished steel product imports fell by 19 percent year on year due to a decrease of 18 percent year on year in imports of flat products and a drop of 25 percent in imports of long products.
EUROFER said that Turkey, Russia, South Korea, India and Ukraine were the largest finished steel import sources for the EU market in the given period. These five countries accounted for 68 percent of total EU finished steel imports in the first eight months this year.
In August, imports of finished products from Turkey decreased by one percent, imports from China fell by 29 percent and imports from India dropped by 28 percent, while imports from Russia increased by nine percent, all year on year.
According to the EUROFER report, flat product imports fell by 10 percent and long product imports decreased by three percent in the second quarter, both year on year.
EUROFER noted that the safeguard measures keep the door open for historically high import volumes. It said that the risk is that any growth of EU steel demand in early 2021 would mostly benefit imports due to the unused quota transfer mechanism. The EU market, therefore, remains at the risk of being destabilized by third country imports to the detriment of EU domestic producers, EUROFER stated.