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Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/05/2014 -- 2014 will see further contraction in Belgian steel production as steelmakers look to stem oversupply through reducing capacity at key facilities. Nevertheless, there are signs the contraction in output levels are tailing off as the market reaches a more balances supply-demand equilibrium while there is also potential for growth in demand for certain, niche products.
The Q3 2014 Belgium Metals Report assesses the health the country's metals sector, with a focus on the production of crude steel and related finished steel products. Our analysis assesses the outlook for the steel sector against the backdrop of weak Eurozone growth and sluggish demand and evaluates the strategies being employed by the country's steelmakers as they look to weather the storm.
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While the overriding trend among local producers over the past few years has been to downsize production capacity, Q214 saw Belgium's largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal makes upgrades worth EUR18mn to its Industeel steel production facility in Charleroi.
The move follows growing concerns about the company, which has so far mothballed a number of local production facilities and whose flagship operations in Liege have been the subject of rumours of a government-backed takeover.
Pessimism surrounding future levels of demand across Europe has led to led to cut-backs being made by a number of the country's major steel producers including ArcelorMittal and Duferco. ArcellorMittal has pledged to keep its five core finishing lines open at Liege due to their ability to produce dedicated high quality products, which are still in demand within Europe. Meanwhile, the company has been looking for outside investment in the plant's additional facilities. Expected furnace closures by both companies mean that Belgium will not return to pre-crisis volumes of production even after a recovery in European demand. The BMI Q1 2014 report analyses the impact this will have on Belgian steel production as a whole.
- We are forecasting negative growth in Belgium steel production over the medium term. Output is set to decrease by 2% y-o-y in 2014 to 6.95mnt.
- Domestic crude steel consumption is also expected to remain weak over the mid-term, with and will remain below 5mnt during the remainder of our forecast period. Average growth of 0.2% y-o-y is expected over 2014-2018 with consumption falling to 4.7mnt by the end of our forecast period
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