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US Steel Kosice running all three furnaces

  • : Metals
  • 25/01/23

Updated to include map

Slovakian steelmaker US Steel Kosice is back operating all three furnaces.

It restarted blast furnace two — idled for 60 days of maintenance in September — at the beginning of this week, meaning all its units are running. It restarted blast furnace one, which it said would be idled at the start of December, earlier this month.

The company has crude steel capacity of about 4.5mn t/yr across the three furnaces.

Capacity is coming back on line in response to rising coil prices and an increase in apparent demand, driven by service centre restocking since December. Argus' daily benchmark northwest EU hot-rolled coil (HRC) index has risen from €602.25/t at the end of November to €735.50/t as of Tuesday. Over the same period, the headline Italian index has risen from €602.50/t to €746.50/t.

Large mills have just returned to market with HRC offers of €780/t for April delivery, but there is concern among buyers that real demand will not be sufficient for the current restock to be sustainable — sheet prices are not rising to the same extent, with service centres selling based on the lower-cost material in stock rather than replacement tonnes.

ArcelorMittal, which led the way with supply cuts in the third and fourth quarter of last year, is contemplating restarting its Asturias blast furnace, which feeds the site's plate and wire rod production.

There is also talk in the raw materials market that Liberty Steel is in the spot market, prompting talk it may be looking to restart a furnace at Galati. The company refused to comment on the potential restart. It put its only running blast furnace at the site, number five, on care and maintenance in December given weak demand.

Liberty has also invited some raw material suppliers to tender for supplies to Dunaferr ahead of the restart of pig iron production at the Hungarian plant, sources suggest. Dunaferr idled both its furnaces in the third quarter of last year in response to high costs and financial issues.

Steel production in Europe

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