AM seen likely to shut down BF No. 2 at Fos Sur Mer in France

ArcelorMittal is likely to suspend production at its blast furnace No. 2 in Fos-Sur-mer, due to the lack of orders, French newspapers reported.

Fos-sur-Mer produces 4 million mt/year of steel and is one of France’s largest producers of flat steel, of which 80% is produced for the automotive sector. Some 60% of Fos-sur-Mer orders usually serve the Italian and Spanish automotive sectors that at the moment are completely on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

ArcelorMittal already stopped one of its BFs on March 23 due to the coronavirus outbreak, as reported already by S&P Global Platts, which could not reach ArcelorMittal for comment Tuesday.

Europe’s steelmakers have cut production and idled lines due to the severe market downturn and economic fallout from the coronavirus spread, with European car making facilities employing temporary shutdowns. In March 2020, the EU passenger car market recorded a dramatic drop with a decrease of 55.1% in registrations of new vehicles as a result of COVID-19, as reported by ACEA figures.

With containment/lockdown measures taking hold in most markets, the vast majority of European dealerships were closed during the second half of March. Consequently, demand across the region fell by more than half last month, dropping from 1,264,569 units registered in March 2019 to 567,308 units.

The Platts TSI index for HRC was assessed Tuesday at Eur448.50/mt exw Ruhr ($487.12), Eur2 lower day on day and a decline of Eur20/mt since February 3.

Over the same period Platts assessed HRC import prices, basis CIF Antwerp, Eur65/mt lower to Eur410/mt.

— Annalisa Villa