Press release

Summit to tackle impact of global steel challenges

In recognition of the challenges currently facing the global steel industry the government is holding a top-level summit.

  • ministers, steel companies, MPs, unions and trade bodies to meet in Rotherham today (16 October 2015)
  • challenging market conditions include global overcapacity and reduced demand in steel, 30% average fall in steel prices and recent currency fluctuations
  • ministers and industry determined to agree action

The government recognises the unprecedented gravity of the challenges currently facing the global steel industry and is holding a top-level summit with the key players from the UK at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Rotherham today.

Business Secretary Sajid Javid, who will be chairing the summit, said:

This is a hugely difficult time for the steel industry across the world – one of the toughest times ever. It is a worldwide problem, and while it will not be solved overnight, we will work closely in partnership with the industry to help find some answers.

There is no magic bullet and we can’t change the price of steel, but we can forensically work through all of the challenges we know the industry is facing to see what solutions there might be. We will also continue to do everything we can to support workers and to continue building a strong economy across the country.

Director of UK Steel, Gareth Stace said:

Britain’s steel makers are facing the most intense crisis since the sector was privatised. We need all parties to come together now to bring forward solutions that will place the long term future of the sector on a sustainable footing.

This isn’t about hand-outs, but giving the sector the opportunity to compete in this global market.

Experts from EY and Oxford Economics will be presenting at the meeting. Mark Gregory, chief economist, EY said:

The UK steel sector is facing a serious crisis. Mill closures and layoffs starkly illustrate the disconnect between the strength of the UK’s key domestic steel-consuming sectors and current levels of production. UK steel producers face a number of market and structural challenges, in part caused by slowing demand in China which has unleashed a flood of steel exports, leading to depressed prices and market distortions on a global scale. Now more than ever policy makers and industry leaders must work together.

The day long summit will consider global market trends, current issues facing the industry and look ahead to future prospects.

Facts on the steel industry:

  • demand for steel worldwide has not returned to pre-crash levels. World Steel suggest that global demand for steel will remain sluggish, falling by 1.7% in 2015 and rising by 0.7% in 2016
  • the price of steel has halved over the past year
  • both the yuan and rouble have devalued, adding further pressure to the UK steel industry

Notes to editors:

  1. The steel summit is taking place at the Advanced Manufacturing Park Technology Centre in Rotherham. The event is closed to media.
  2. A further statement will be released following the meeting.
Published 16 October 2015