ArcelorMittal France to temporarily shut 2 million mt BF at Fos sur Mer

European steelmaker ArcelorMittal will temporarily shut one of its two 2 million mt/year blast furnaces in Fos-sur-Mer, France, it told S&P Global Commodity Insights on Nov. 4.

“In a strongly deteriorated macro-economic context, coupled with a major impact of soaring energy prices and an increase in steel imports into Europe, the Fos-sur-Mer site is facing a slowdown in demand for steel,” the company said

It forecast steel orders to be lower for the rest of 2022 and the beginning of 2023.

Partial activity measures will be put in place starting from the beginning of December to adapt the working hours of some staff up to a maximum one day per week.

“As soon as market conditions allow, we will relaunch a two-blast furnace operation at Fos,” ArcelorMittal Mediterranee CEO Bruno Ribo said.

Platts, part of S&P Global, assessed domestic HRC prices in Northern Europe at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr Nov. 3, down 29.5% since the start of 2022.

Currently, only three of the five BFs located in France are working, following the shutdown of a 1.5 million mt/year blast furnace No. 3 at the Dunkirk plant on Sept. 19.

Record-low nuclear power generation has lifted French power prices from a discount to Europe’s premium market over recent months and into 2023. Year-ahead power settled Nov. 3 at Eur485/MWh ($481/MWh) compared to Eur302.50/MWh in Italy, EEX data showed.

French power prices have at least tripled over the past year with Dec. 2022 contracts currently trading around Eur800/MWh compared to Eur274.67/MWh.

— Annalisa Villa