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Global steel sector faces uncertain road to recovery in wake of pandemic

Hellenicshippingnews - Steelmakers responded quickly to the sudden plunge in demand caused by the coronavirus pandemic with capacity cuts, but the timing and extent of a recovery remains uncertain with key consuming industries remaining under pressure.

As of May 18, production stoppages had halted 7% of global output capacity excluding China, according to research from VTB Capital. Europe’s already strained steel sector has borne the brunt of shutdowns as the coronavirus spread from east to west, with 18.9 million tonnes or 12% of its capacity closed, while 13.6 Mt or 15% of capacity was idled in the U.S.

The world’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, suspended operations from the Americas to Asia, reducing capacity by roughly 24.5 million tonnes, according to VTB Capital’s analysts. The Luxembourg-headquartered group expects shipments to slump 25.6% to 30.8% in the second quarter from 19.5 Mt in the first, according to a recent presentation.

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