ArcelorMittal and Ilva: in the steel crisis Italy pays the highest price


All the major European producers are in crisis. In the last three months the listed groups have reported falling losses or profits and the securities of the companies since the beginning of the year have fallen by 10 to 20 percent. Many have decided to cut production.

A structural datum related to the world steel market, that is to say the overcapacity, is welded to this dynamic. There is too much production capacity compared to the demand, too many plants that produce steel. And in this sector the fixed costs are high. It is produced in a continuous cycle. This means that it is not possible to stop and restart a steel plant at will without having to bear inefficiencies and additional costs.

Europe is not the center of the world, even more so in the steel market. Global steel production last year grew by 4.6%. But China (+ 6.6%), India (+ 4.9%), the United States (+ 6.2%) grew, while Germany lost two percent. China now produces 928 million tons of steel, half of the 1.888 billion of global production.

Italy is historically an important steel producer. To date, it is still the second in Europe (after Germany), but has left the top ten list, surpassed by Iran. In 2018, Italy produced 24.5 million tons, up 1.7 percent on 2017.

This year, in the first nine months of the year, national production was 17.621 million tons, 3.9% less than the same period last year. In 2015, before the last expansionary cycle, the threshold in September was even worse, at 16.752 million tons.

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