European steelmakers are braced for a first quarter that they expect to be even tougher than the end of last year, with demand still slack in Europe despite signs it might be picking up elsewhere.
Steelmakers around the world have slashed production, cut jobs and shelved expansion projects as key customers in the automotive, appliance and construction industries continue to curtail their steel orders amid the global recession.
However, European steel demand appears to be hit particularly hard. While U.S. inventories have fallen to their lowest level in 15 years and Chinese stocks have fallen enough to cause domestic steel prices to rise, European inventories remain comparatively high.
Well worth reading the full report at WSJ online