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Italian exports to EU rise by a quarter, compete on price - 23 November 2011

Italian steel production has increased by 11.5% year to date, fuelling concerns that Italian mills are not cutting production sufficiently in the current economic climate, analysts said commenting on Italian production data.

As Italian domestic fundamentals are weak with real domestic demand similar to 2010 or just slightly above, additional steel production is mainly being directed outside the country, analysts tell <b>Steel Business Briefing</b>.

“In terms of the coils market, Italians are putting pressure on volumes as well as on prices,” an analyst says. “Ilva, for example, has cheaper costs than some ArcelorMittal mills and their prices reflect this: Ilva’s coils are around €460-470/ ex-works, while for ArcelorMittal the price is around €20/t higher,” a trader says.

Some analysts believe Italian producers are taking advantage of others mills’ decisions to cut. “Riva and Arvedi are cutting, but this is not enough. ArcelorMittal is going to produce less than last year while the largest Italian producer, Riva, is increasing its production,” an analyst states. This is helping Italian producers to increase market share, using their cheaper prices and higher volumes.

In the first eight months of 2011, Italy’s total steel exports jumped 14% year-on-year to 11.484 million tonnes, pushed by sales to its key European Union markets. Italy’s steel imports rose 13.4 % to 12.6mt in the January-August period.

Italy’s steel exports to the EU jumped 23.6 % to 8.315mt in the same period, while imports from the EU increased 2.8% to 5.876mt. Italy exported 3.937mt of flat products into the EU.


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