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Steelmakers have yet to tackle overcapacities, senior executive warns

Europe
24.08.2017
By our dpa-correspondent and Europe Online    auf Facebook posten  Auf Twitter posten  
Linz, Austria (dpa) - The current upswing of the steel industry masks large excess production capacities that will have to be cut in the medium- and long-term, Austrian steel executive and senior industry representative Wolfgang Eder says.

The industry has been experiencing recovering prices, factories running at full capacities and rising global steel output.

However, the chief executive of Austrian steelmaker Voestalpine told dpa this week that European steel works are producing 30 million to 40 million tons above demand.

Capacities will have to be reduced and factories will have to be closed, according to Eder, who led the World Steel Association (worldsteel) until last year and currently serves as the industry group‘s vice chairman.

"It‘s a macho industry. Millions of tons still count more than millions of earned euros, dollars or renminbi," Eder said, criticizing the focus on output rather than profitability.

Politicians who fight for keeping unprofitable steel factories running pose an additional problem, he said.

Global production capacity will reach 2.43 billion tons next year, while demand remains at 1.6 billion tons, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and worldsteel.

"We‘ve seen a permanent upward trend in capacities, even during the critical years after the 2009 financial crisis," Eder said.

The manager said that clients such as the car industry have been using less and less steel as steelmakers have been developing ever lighter materials.

 

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