Third country steel imports into Europe rose in July and August 2014, according to the latest EU customs statistics.

Finished steel imports have risen 32% year-on-year compared with a 6% rise in Q1 and a 33% rise in Q2. According to EUROFER, this means that over the first eight months of 2014 total steel imports rose 21%. Flat product imports grew 15% year-on-year while long products imports increased by 49%.

These figures contrast sharply with the only very moderate growth of apparent consumption, says EUROFER.

EUROFER's statistics show demand for finished steel products in H1 2014 rose almost 5.5% when compared with the same period last year.

It is expected that growth in apparent steel consumption for 2014 as a whole will rise by 3.5% reflecting the usual seasonal destocking in the second half of the year, underpinning the fact that the rebound in steel demand is only gradually gaining momentum.

“That is exactly the reason why we are so concerned about the sharply rising trend in imports we are observing since the start of the year. Low-priced imports benefit more from the fragile recovery in the EU market than domestic producers. Moreover, the combination of volume and pricing effects exacerbates the already severe margin pressure in the EU steel sector," said Axel Eggert, EUROFER's interim general director.