Partly thanks to the production slowdown in conflict riven Ukraine, Italy crept into tenth position in the global steel ranking in October. Production rose to 2,275 million tons in the tenth month of the year, up around 6% compared with the same month of 2016. Total output exceeded 20 million tons (20,075), showing growth of 3% on the same period of last year.
In 2017 the steel industry recorded stronger performance than the previous year. The sector is still facing huge difficulties, but since 2016 has begun to show positive economic and financial signals and an upturn in overall margins. This is the conclusion reached by the Bilanci d’Acciaio, produced by the studies office of Siderweb – The Italian steel community – the organiser of Made in Steel, which examined the 2016 financial statements of Italian steel firms to assess their profits, assets and financial strength. 3700 financial statements were analyzed – compared with 3400 in the previous edition – from companies belonging to 5 segments: steel production, service centres, distribution centres, scrap and ferroalloy dealers, and users.
“In the first edition we looked at the statements from 31 December 2008, the year of the Financial Crisis. Since that time many firms have dramatically altered the way they operate, others have closed, undergone restructuring or changed hands. What is immediately clear is that the businesses that have survived have increased their weight in terms of turnover and value added, while more fragile firms have shrunk,” says Emanuele Morandi, CEO Made in Steel and Chairman Siderweb. “The as yet timid recovery we are seeing (and hope will continue) marks the widening of the gap between those who have managed to embrace innovation, improve their organisation, training and marketing, and those who still lag behind the more advanced paradigms.”
As regards the overall economic environment, there has been a general improvement in all macroeconomic variables, “beginning with GDP, which is growing at the steady pace seen in the last decade (+1.5%). The steel industry is benefiting from the rise in gross fixed capital investment, which this year rose by 3.1% and is set to grow by 2.2%-3.0% between 2018 and 2020,” explains Stefano Ferrari, of the Siderweb Studies Office. “Construction will also contribute to growth in steel consumption, with investments in the sector predicted to rise by an annual 1%-2% to 2020.” Siderweb – The Community of Steel also forecasts that “steel consumption will grow by around 1.5% this year. In 2018 investments in machinery and equipment will be driven by Industry 4.0 incentives which will strengthen growth in consumption (+1.8%).”