Today at the fieramilano's Conference & Exhibition, the focus is on the industry challenges and the market. A speech by the CEO of Ukraine-based Metinvest Group during Federacciai's Public Assembly

Milan, 10 May 2023 – The role of steel in Europe, the steel conjuncture, the market, and the reconstruction of Ukraine. These are some of the key topics of the second day of the tenth edition of Made in Steel, the International Conference & Exhibition for the steel supply chain, scheduled until tomorrow at fieramilano Rho.

This morning in the siderweb Conference Room, Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest spoke at the conference, "Ukraine's role in the new Europe made of steel".

Yuriy Ryzhenkov, CEO of Metinvest, emphasized how the group has managed to cope with the events of the last year and a half: “The war actually started in 2014, so in 2022 we saw an escalation of a longer conflict. This experience has helped us over the past year. Somehow we came prepared and knew how to proceed, even though we were forced to suspend production in the first months. We engaged in supply diversification, found new sources of raw materials and reshaped our supply chain”. Measures that enabled Metinvest to end 2022 on a positive financial note: “2021 was a very positive year for several producers worldwide, including Metinvest. Moreover, one of the main strengths of our group is diversification and we were able to keep intact and active the assets that were far from the combat zones. This gave us the necessary strength to generate last year's results”.

Regarding the future of Azovstal, Metinvest's CEO explained that "the steel plant has, in fact, been demolished, but this must be an opportunity. We want to rebuild a new Azovstal and turn it into a center for the production of DRI and green steel. Our shareholder Rinat Akhmetov said he would not spare any expense to rebuild Ukraine and Mariupol and we will work to rebuild Azovstal”.

Ukraine will have a future as a supplier of DRI: “Ukraine's strategy, initiated before the start of the war, must be to continue building plants for the production of DRI. By intensifying these productions, we will be able to supply European users. This would bring Ukraine even closer to the EU, becoming an integral part of the European steel production chain. This must be the way and I do not see any other option on the horizon. If Ukraine wants to strengthen its industry, its economy needs the European market. Unfortunately, we have taken steps backwards, but now is the time to move back along this path. We must ensure that the tragedy of the invasion can open up new opportunities”.

 

The ECONOMIC CONJUNCTURE – MARKET & SURROUNDINGS took centre stage in the siderweb Arena, the initiative designed by siderweb to monitor the performance of the domestic and international steel market. For the first time, the meeting was held in presence, replacing the usual webinar format. 

A talk by Emanuele Norsa, Kallanish and siderweb, which analyzed key trends in the international steel market: "The first part of 2023 was tough, with muted sentiment, if not negative. This soft start in China impacted the price of raw materials, which remained high compared to historical levels but lower than peaks in 2022. The Dragon remains a strong reference. Its apparent consumption will grow by 5.5%, but not enough to boost prices internationally. For this reason, some stability is expected in Europe by 2023 accompanied by some degree of recovery". On the one hand, "The situation has had beneficial effects on the energy costs which, last year, had a significant impact globally and, above all, in Europe. Today, despite corrections in commodity prices, margins for steel mills are under excessive pressure. Therefore, we can say that the market is reaching some stability, despite some persistent difficulties". 

"The economic slowdown is affecting all commodity markets," said Achille Fornasinisiderweb - University of Brescia StatLab. "Talking about the steel industry – continues Fornasini – the integral cycle has gone through a significant decline in recent months both for iron ore and coal coke, which are lowering the charge value of the blast furnace. Consistent with trends for raw materials, national coils are on a downward trend, moving closer to the lows of the last quarter of 2022. Turning to the electro-steel industry, it is worth noting a significant contraction in the prices of Turkish ferrous scrap, dragging down national scrap as well. Among long products, beams and mercantile laminates behave consistently, with bars and wire rods for reinforced concrete reaching a new equilibrium». The stainless steel sector is still significantly depressed, "With ferroalloys and scrap taking the prices of stainless steel sheets down, hitting new lows, week after week”.

INTERVIEWS WITH INDUSTRY PLAYERS – In an interview by Stefano Ferrari, head of the Siderweb Studies Office, Alessandro Fossati of Gamma Trade said: "The start of the year went beyond everyone’s expectations, with the first quarter of 2023 being the best of the last twenty years, except for 2021 and 2022. European demand for flats has remained unmoved. What's moving the market is the expectations. I expect a bearish trend, but with some differences: imports will follow the downtrend of production costs; special products, on the contrary, will benefit from a parachute effect allowing them to gain some stability”.

Enrico Fornelli, commercial director of AFV Acciaierie Beltrame said: "The first quarter of 2023 was positive for long products, despite a physiological slowdown; bars for reinforced concrete have suffered the most. Demand has generally declined and was offset by a slight compression of prices. We have seen a decrease in energy costs and scrap, which, as a result, led to the repositioning of prices at lower levels".

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