Steel Times International Issue
December Digital Issue

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December Digital Issue

I remember the end of 2019 clearly. I was in Brussels attending a EUROFER event and found the time to wander the streets of the European capital before jumping on a crowded Eurostar to London. Before departing, I looked at watches and eventually bought one, and when I got home there was Christmas to look forward to, followed by what we all expected to be a Happy New Year.

There was little news about COVID-19, flights from Beijing were coming into the UK thick and fast and nobody, least of all the British Government, had much to say about a virus that originated in a Wuhan wet market. It was ‘over there’ not over here, out of sight and largely out of mind.

All of sudden, however, people started to take notice, but still those flights from China were landing in London and right through to March people were acting as if there wasn’t a problem...until we all went into lockdown. It was a similar story the world over and even then most people thought it would be short-lived; but no, it’s still going on today. We all found ourselves working from home through what turned out to be an amazing summer here in the UK, with high temperatures and, in my house, a long-running plague of ants. The news pages of this magazine started to feature COVID-19 stories, initially reporting that there was no real problem for global steelmakers, but it wasn’t long before there was talk of plant closures and job losses and soon every story was accompanied by an illustrative representation of the virus. Conferences and exhibitions were cancelled and steelmakers talked of the precautions they were taking to keep their employees safe.

And so it goes on. Today we hear that US electric steelmakers have proved more resilient than integrated mill operators, largely because their end-use markets, such as construction, were more buoyant than the automotive sector.

There is a light at the end of the tunnel, or so they say. A vaccine is looking promising, events are being rescheduled, capacity utilisation rates are improving.

This issue is all about the news of 2020 from January through to the end of November. It’s also the last issue of the year, so I’ll wish you all a Merry Christmas and a safe and prosperous 2021.

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2 Leader by Matthew Moggridge, Editor, Steel Times International

4 News Review of 2020 – a look back at the news of 2020