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Italy Metals Report Q4 2012
Business Monitor International, October 2012, Pages: 48
The Italy Metals Report provides industry professionals and strategists, corporate analysts, metals associations, government departments and regulatory bodies with independent forecasts and competitive intelligence on Italy's metals industry.
BMI's Italy Metals Report for Q4 2012 examines the causes of the sudden slowdown in the Italian steel industry in H212 and examines whether the country will regain the volumes it reported before the 2008 financial crisis. The report examines how metals producers are responding to the challenges posed by an increasingly precarious external macroeconomic environment. These challenges have affected exports and had an impact on the Italian consumer. The report considers these issues and also assesses the ability of producers and exporters to realise returns in the short term.
In the first seven months of 2012, Italian crude steel output fell 0.7% y-o-y to 17.3mn tonnes (mnt), a rate of decline far lower than the EU rate of -4.6%. Italy retained its position as the EU's second largest steelmaking country with a 16.7% share of production. According to the Italian steel producers'
association Federacciai, in H112 Italy's steel imports totalled 7.42mnt, down 27.4% y-o-y, while its steel exports totalled 9.92mnt, up 10.3% y-o-y.
The main problems Italy will face over our forecast period are similar to those seen over the past 20 years: low business productivity; insufficient investment in high technology industries; disadvantageous demographics; and of course the labour market. A significant downside risk is the rising cost of electricity. With two-thirds of Italian crude steel output produced by electric arc furnaces, compared to 25-40% in other major steel producing nations in Western Europe, margins are under greater threat.
The cost of energy has also impacted negatively on the aluminium industry with Alcoa planning to take offline its loss-making 150,000tpa Portovesme aluminium smelter by end-October if no buyers are found.
Glencore, Klesch and wind energy company KiteGen showed interest in acquiring the Portovesme smelter in September 2012.
Over the last quarter BMI has revised the following forecasts/views:
- The contraction in economic activity, particularly in the industrial sector, confirms BMI's domestic crude steel consumption forecast of -8% growth to 30.3mnt in 2012.
- The unexpected closure of the Ilva steel plant at Taranto was closed in August 2012 under a court order due to emissions has taken offline 30% of Italian capacity. As such, the closure has a major impact on BMI's forecast for 2012 output with the growth output revised down from -3%
to -11%. Assuming that it will only be in partial operation over the medium term, BMI has made a downward revision to its 2016 forecast from 30.7mnt to 25.7mnt.
- In the event of no sale, the closure of the Portovesme smelter would undermine the competitiveness of downstream aluminium alloy and metal works industries, which will be reliant on foreign producers for supplies due to the lack of primary metal.
Executive Summary 5
SWOT Analysis 7
Italy Business Environment SWOT 7
Europe Metals Overview 8
Industry Forecast 13
Table: Italy – Steel Production & Consumption ('000 tonnes, unless stated otherwise) 15
Table: Italy – Steel Industry Historical Data ('000 tonnes, unless stated otherwise) 15
Table: Italy – Aluminium Production & Consumption ('000 tonnes, unless stated otherwise) 17
Macroeconomic Outlook 18
Fiscal Retrenchment To Drive Recession 18
Table: Italy – GDP By Expenditure (Real Growth %) 20
Commodities Forecast 21
Steel Price Forecast – Steel To Average US$360/tonne In 2013 21
Table: Steel Forecast 21
Table: Global Steel Forecasts 27
Commodity Strategy – Monthly Metals Update 27
Aluminium: Support At US$1,800/tonne Likely To Hold 29
Copper: Relative Outperformer But Still Weak 31
Iron Ore: Don't Bet On A Sustainable Recovery 33
Lead: Potential For Short-Term Rally 35
Nickel: No Turnaround Coming 36
Steel: More Pain Ahead 37
Tin To Outperform 38
Zinc: Little Room For Optimism 40
Table: Select Commodities – Performance & BMI Forecasts 41
Competitive Landscape 42
Company Profiles 43
Financial Data 46
Table: Alcoa – Financial Data 46
BMI Methodology 47
How We Generate Our Industry Forecasts 47
Cross Checks 47