ROUNDUP OF METAL COATED SHEET FROM MEPS
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withdrawn.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.
MEPS - World Steel
Outlook - Q4-2012.
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