The economic sentiment was very good at the start of the business year 2022/23, but rapidly weakened as the year wore on. Economic growth then slowed dramatically in the business year’s third quarter. Nonetheless, both economic indicators and actual business performance turned out to be more resilient than initially forecast.
Aside from a slight easing of inflationary pressures, the very fact that energy supplies in Europe remained intact contributed to the improvement in economic sentiment. Although economic researchers posit that the economic sentiment reached its lowest point in the third quarter of the business year 2022/23, the forecasts regarding both consumption and investments in the short and medium term remain subdued.
In this generally challenging economic environment, the voestalpine Group relies yet again on its broad positioning in different market segments and economic regions.
While the uncertainties in Europe still outweigh those elsewhere, especially owing to the war in Ukraine, the forecasts for North America now only expect a mild recession, if that. Brazil elected a new president, but the country’s future economic policies are still not clear, even though the current environment is very stable. Economic developments in China at this time are being shaped by the complete reversal of the country’s COVID policies. A massive wave of COVID-19 infections already engulfed the country toward the end of the reporting period; its economic ramifications are likely to affect the fourth business quarter also.
As far as markets are concerned, the upward trend in the energy and aerospace segments is expected to continue during the remainder of the business year 2022/23. Railway infrastructure is also expected to continue benefiting from very good demand. Developments in the automotive industry, which has still not been able to really solve its supply chain problems, will largely remain stable. This forecast also applies to the mechanical engineering industry, which continues to benefit from very strong order levels. The consumer goods industry already weakened substantially in the course of the reporting period, and demand in this sector is expected to be lower overall in the company’s last business quarter. Slowing demand in the construction industry is likely to continue in the fourth business quarter.
At this time, the Management Board of voestalpine AG expects EBITDA of about EUR 2.5 billion for the entire business year 2022/23. This figure includes around EUR 120 million in positive non-recurring effects from the sale of property in the fourth business quarter. However, the closing of this transaction is still contingent on administrative authorizations.