Market Monitor Metals and Steel Belgium 2019

Market Monitor

  • Belgium
  • Metals,
  • Steel

26th November 2019

Demand for metals and steel is currently impacted by the slowdown in demand from automotive and reduced investment from other manufacturing industries.

Demand for Belgian metals and steel is currently being impacted by the slowdown in demand from automotive and reduced investment from other manufacturing industries in Belgium and the EU. Profit margins of many businesses have decreased over the past 12 months due to increased competition. Value added growth in the iron and steel segment is expected to decrease by about 5% in 2019, with a modest 0.1% rebound forecast in 2020.

Gearing of businesses mainly depends on the subsector, e.g. while large metals and steel groups have a lower gearing, the overall indebtedness of metal traders and smaller buyers in the semi-finished goods segment is rather high. Banks are still generally willing to provide loans to Belgian metals and steel businesses.

Payments in the Belgian metals and steel sector take about 60 days on average, and the number of non-payment notifications in 2019 has been lower than in 2017 and 2018. While Belgian business insolvencies are forecast to increase 4% in 2019 and 2% in 2020, it is expected that steel and metals business failures will level off. 

Our underwriting stance is neutral for both the metals and steel segments, especially for larger groups. However, we are more cautious with businesses that depend heavily on supplies to the automotive industry. Regarding metals and steel traders interim figures are required to better follow-up their business activities.

Related documents


Each publication available on or from our websites, such as, but not limited to webpages, reports, articles, publications, tips and helpful content, trading briefs, infographics, videos (each a “Publication”) is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a recommen¬dation or advice as to particular transactions, investments or strategies in any way to any reader. Readers must make their own independent decisions, commercial or otherwise, regarding the information provided. While we have made every attempt to ensure that the information contained in any Publication has been obtained from reliable sources, Atradius is not responsible for any errors or omissions, or for the results obtained from the use of this information. All information in any Publication is provided ’as is’, with no guarantee of completeness, accuracy, timeliness or of the results obtained from its use, and without warranty of any kind, express or implied. In no event will Atradius, its related partnerships or corporations, or the partners, agents or employees thereof, be liable to you or anyone else for any decision made or action taken in reliance on the information in any Publication, or for any loss of opportunity, loss of profit, loss of production, loss of business or indirect losses, special or similar damages of any kind, even if advised of the possibility of such losses or damages.