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Home > MEPS Steel News - 11.02.2013


The performance of the European automotive sector deteriorated as 2012 progressed. The outlook for this year is poor. Forecasts for production and sales of vehicles are for marginal growth, at best, in 2013. However, there could be a slight improvement in the second half if export demand picks up. Production of metal coated steel is predicted to rise this year following a drop of 5 percent in 2012.

The Japanese auto industry, which had been buoyant for the majority of last year, slowed in the final trimester. Government subsidies for the purchase of “environmentally friendly” vehicles were withdrawn. Furthermore, sales to the Chinese market shrank because of the ongoing diplomatic row. In contrast, robust activity at car and component manufacturers in Thailand continues to boost Japanese companies operating in this sector. MEPS continues to project output of coated steel rising by 2 percent in 2013.

In South Korea, sales to the appliance makers and for construction remain subdued. Stock levels are still too high for current demand. However, mills have managed to stabilise prices. A moderate increase in output is foreseen this year. The rate of growth in Chinese production is set to slow, in 2013, to around 4.5 percent. Output declined last year in Taiwan. Some improvement is envisaged in the current twelve month period.

Brazilian production has been boosted by new capacity installations. A solid increase in output is forecast for 2013. The automotive industry continues to drive coated coil demand in the US. The sector has benefited from improving consumer confidence, increased availability of finance and the generally recovering economy. The domestic appliance and construction markets are forecast to improve in 2013. These factors should have a beneficial effect on consumption. Vehicle demand is also good in Canada. However, customers in the construction market are keeping their stocks under strict control. We predict that shipments will be almost 2.5 million tonnes in 2013.

Source: MEPS - World Steel Outlook - Q4-2012.

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