ArcelorMittal cuts steel demand forecast, targets asset sales

BRUSSELS: The world’s biggest steelmaker ArcelorMittal cut its forecast for global steel demand, with a sharper reduction now envisaged in Europe due to a lean automotive market. The Luxembourg-based company did cut its net debt in the second quarter in results that were broadly in line with expectations and said it had identified up to $2 billion of assets for potential sale in the next two years.
ArcelorMittal shares, which had fallen 20 per cent in the year to date before Thursday, were up 1.5 per cent in early trading. Analysts said the company’s positive cash flow in difficult circumstances and asset sale plans explained the rise.
The steelmaker, which accounts for about 6 per cent of world steel production, said it now expected global apparent steel consumption, which includes inventory changes, to rise between 0.5 per cent and 1.5 per cent in 2019, from a previous forecast of 1 -1.5 per cent. — Reuters