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EU Witnesses an 11% Year-on-Year Decline in Iron Ore Imports in 2023

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In 2023, the European Union reduced imports of iron ore from third countries by 11% compared to 2022, to 72.75 million tons. This is evidenced by GMK Center’s calculations based on Eurostat data.

Imports of iron ore to European consumers have been declining for the second year in a row, with EU steelmakers importing 81.72 million tonnes of ore in 2022, down 12.7% y/y. In 2021, supplies amounted to 93.58 million tons (+20.2% y/y).

In December 2023, the import of iron ore into the EU amounted to 5.06 million tons, which is 0.3% more compared to December 2022, and 9.5% less compared to November.

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The main suppliers of iron ore to the European Union in 2023 are:

Canada – 21.48 million tons (-2.1% y/y);
Brazil – 18.06 million tons (-11% y/y);
Ukraine – 13.4 million tons (+3.7% y/y).
Last year, Australia reduced supplies of iron ore to the EU market by 71.9% y/y, to 178.15 thousand tons, and Russia – by 88.2% y/y, to 332.27 thousand tons.

The largest consumers of iron ore from third countries are:

The Netherlands – 22.57 million tons (+31% y/y);
Czech Republic – 12.53 million tons (+17.2% y/y);
France – 8.51 million tons (+11.7% y/y);
Belgium – 5.73 million tons (+7.9% y/y);
Slovakia – 5.34 million tons (+7.3% y/y).

There is one steel plant in the Netherlands, Tata Steel Ijmuiden, with a capacity of 7.5 million tons of steel per year, and Liberty Ostrava and Třinecké Železárny in the Czech Republic (3.6 million tons and 2.8 million tons per year, respectively). France has 6 plants with a capacity of over 8 million tons of steel per year, Belgium has four (8.5 million tons per year), and Slovakia has US Steel Kosice (4.5 million tons per year).

As GMK Center reported earlier, global iron ore trade in 2023 increased by 5% compared to 2022 to 1.59 billion tons. The improvement was driven by a slight increase in steel production amid the absence of any clear policy to limit production by the Chinese government.


Source: GMK Center

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