After suffering for some seven years through to 2015, the world’s steelmakers have had cause for cheer over the past couple of years. Following some heavy losses and write-downs, they finally appear to have emerged from the wreckage of the global financial crisis. An economic upswing has taken root in most regions of the world, Chinese steel output and export growth has slowed noticeably, and steel prices have enjoyed an upward swing in consequence.
After having gone after imports of both hot-rolled coil (HRC) and cold-rolled coil (CRC) this year, will the European Commission soon be turning its attention to imports of galvanized steel? (primarily hot-dipped galvanized material (HDG))
In all likelihood yes but just how effective would any import restrictions be?
Let’s take a look at the case for implementing trade protection measures on these products and what effect they may have.
Just under ten years ago, during June 2006, Mittal Steel finally gained control of Arcelor, creating what in turn is still today the world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal.
With prices of many commodities at multi-year lows, recent financial releases from some of Europe’s major steelmakers delivered a reminder that not everything is bad in the steel industry.
Why, when most stories surrounding the steel and commodity markets are overwhelmingly negative these days, might this be the case?
The phrase ‘sick man of Europe’ has been used time and again over the past century, and used against almost every individual European state at one point or another to describe a country afflicted by economic adversity or impoverishment.
During much of the 1970s the UK enjoyed the dubious honour, while in the 1990s it was Germany’s turn. With their inability to balance a government budget for more than 30 years, both France and Italy have regularly contended for the title.
Nowadays it is a hotly-disputed mantle and, depending upon which statistics are looked at, a case could be made for any number of countries. In the European steel industry, however, there is one market that stands out as suffering particular adversity. That market is Italy.