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US Steel Kosice extends blast furnace stoppage on weak steel demand

Slovakia-based flat steel producer US Steel Kosice (USSK) has decided to extend downtime at one of its blast furnaces due to slow demand for steel across Europe, sources told Fastmarkets on the sidelines of the Tube & Wire trade fair in Dusseldorf on Tuesday April 16.

Several buyer sources at the fair said that the producer has stopped one blast furnace in early March for a planned maintenance, but had decided to extend the stoppage into the second quarter 2024 amid persistently weak demand for steel and deteriorating prices. The company confirmed the extended downtime to Fastmarkets.

“We have adjusted our production capacity to market demand. We decided to extend a March 2024 planned outage of Blast Furnace No2 into the second quarter of 2024,” the company said.

USSK has three blast furnaces with a combined capacity of 5 million tpy of pig iron. The steelmaker produces hot-rolled, cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized coil.

Prices for flat steel in Europe have been falling non-stop since early February 2024, following a short-term rebound in January that was driven by restocking.

In March 2024, Fastmarkets’ daily steel hot-rolled coil index, domestic, exw Northern Europe averaged €691.99 ($742.78) per tonne, down by €46.29 per tonne from €738.28 per tonne in February.

On April 15, the index was calculated at €638.96 per tonne, down by €0.21 per tonne from €639.17 per tonne on April 12.

Market participants told Fastmarkets they were not ruling out a further downward correction in April, given the weak demand and plentiful supplies.

Published by: Julia Bolotova
Source: fastmarkets