July 7 (Bloomberg) -- European Union apparent steel demand rose almost 16 percent in the first quarter, compared with a year earlier, industry group Eurofer said.
Apparent demand based on deliveries plus imports will rise 7.7 percent for the year to 161 million metric tons, the highest since 2008, the Brussels-based Eurofer said in an e-mailed statement today. Steel output will rise 6 percent over the same period, Eurofer said.
“Demand-side fundamentals of the EU steel market are looking rather positive,” said Gordon Moffat, director general of Eurofer. “Real consumption growth is the key driver and stocks in the distribution chain are seen remaining balanced with demand.”
Apparent demand surpassed the 15 percent increase in real demand, signaling forward buying by steel purchasers, “apparently more so by the participants in the steel distribution chain than by final consumers,” Eurofer said. Inventories are “well-balanced” with demand, partly due to credit restrictions, it said.
Real steel consumption is forecast to increase 6.6 percent this year and 3.9 percent in 2012, it said.
Steel output rose 12 percent in the first quarter, boosted by milder weather than a year earlier, Eurofer said. Construction accounts for 27 percent of EU steel demand, the largest sector, Eurofer said.
“The strength of first quarter EU steel-using industries has clearly surprised on the upside,” the group said. ‘All sectors except shipbuilding posted higher-than-expected growth in output.”
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