European steel import activity remains sustained despite the weakness of domestic demand during recent months, Kallanish finds.

According to data from the official European database collected by UK Steel, European importers used some 29% of available safeguard quotas for Q3 during the first 13 days of July. Last year in early July during the same period some 18% were used while in January 2022 some 33% of quotas were used during the first ten days of Q1.

For flat products, over 70% of organic coated sheets quotas have been used, with Indian, Turkish and “Other countries” quotas fully consumed. HRC and CRC quotas remain widely available, but all Chinese metallic coated sheets quotas for the sub-group 4b have been consumed.

For long products, Turkish rebar quotas have been exhausted. Usually Turkish wire rod quotas are also consumed very quickly, but this time around so far some 33% of the allocated quotas remain available. Turkish hollow sections quotas have also been fully used.

Stainless CRC quotas are also under pressure, as Turkish, Taiwanese and “Other countries” quotas have been fully used already. Indian stainless bars and wire rod quotas are also exhausted.

Eurofer calculated that if European finished steel imports continue at the pace registered during the first five months of this year, they could reach a new record level at 34.5mt over the year. Last year imports of all finished steel products surpassed 30mt, beating the previous record registered back in 2018.