Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 06/03/2014 -- BMI's latest Austria Metals Report assesses the prospects for growth in the steel industry over the mediumterm following a decline in output but an increase in consumption in 2012. Within it, our forecasts for the industry run out to 2018. The report examines the risk and investment strategies of leading players in the industry. It also examines the impact of a decline in the eurozone, particularly the German market, on Austrian exports.
The performance of Austria's steel industry is estimated by BMI to have returned to growth once more in 2013, after deteriorating by 0.6% in 2012. Indeed in 2013, BMI estimates that crude output increased by 0.5% 7.46mnt. BMI estimates that consumption levels continued their upward trend for the fourth year running in 2013, rising by 1.2% from 4.78mnt as at December 31 2012 to 4.84mnt a year later.
Austrian steelmaking has suffered from the structural oversupply of standard grades, which has driven down prices on the EU market despite cutbacks in output. This has put downward pressure on margins, although there is no immediate sign of any idling of capacity. Despite the fact that volume has contracted, Austria still outperformed the 4.6% contraction reported for the whole of the EU. Austria's dominant steelmaker Voestalpine is also upbeat, expressing its confidence that business will pick up. While volume may not increase, sales could be boosted by a rise in product prices. Capacity constraints will prevent any further significant growth in crude steel beyond pre-crisis levels over the long term, although BMI expects investment in downstream sectors.
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On an intercontinental level, in February 2014 the European Parliament passed a resolution backing a plan to revive the bloc's steel industry, calling on the European Commission and member states to adopt "economically feasible" climate and energy targets. The resolution came just two weeks after the Commission scaled down its 2030 climate and energy targets and underlines a new sense of pragmatism in Brussels at a when European growth is slow. In a move unlikely to be popular with the green lobby, the resolution said the most energy efficient steel plants in Europe should not have to bear any additional costs resulting from EU climate policies. It was not immediately clear how the resolution will tally with attempts by the Commission to prop up the EU carbon prices by delaying the sale of, or backloading, carbon permits - a major additional cost for industries like steel.
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