BRUSSELS/LONDON, Feb 5 (Reuters) - The European Union steel market is facing "an unprecedented downturn" this year, with no respite seen until 2010, European steel confederation Eurofer said on Thursday.
"The significant deterioration in economic fundamentals since autumn 2008 is fully reflected in the outlook for the EU steel using industries," a Eurofer statement said.
The EU's 27 member countries produced some 200 million tonnes of crude steel in 2008, according to figures from Worldsteel, making up for nearly 15 percent of the global crude steel output, which stands at 1.33 billion tonnes.
"Apparent consumption will drop by 29 percent year-on-year in the first quarter and by a further 23 percent in the second quarter," Eurofer said.
Apparent consumption in the UK at the moment is nearer to 40% down, with many consuming industries, particularly automotive almost at a complete standstill. I talk regularly with manufacturers and stockholders, and no one is seeing any indication of improvement at the moment.