ArcelorMittal Poland says temporarily halting Sosnowiec wire rod mill operations on low demand

Author Annalisa Villa, Rabia Arif

ArcelorMittal Poland stopped production at its Sosnowiec wire rod mill from Nov. 18, with plans to restart Nov. 27, due to lackluster demand in the domestic market, a spokesperson told S&P Global Commodity Insights Nov. 20.

The decision has been taken “following in-depth analyses of all available options,” by AM Poland, the spokesperson said, mentioning a 17% year-on-year drop in apparent steel consumption in Poland, citing the Polish Steel Association.

Sosnowiec is a downstream plant producing wire rod and cold-rolled strip.

According to the European Commission, the Polish economy remains weak, with falling private consumption. Poland’s gross domestic product in 2023 is expected to be only 0.4% and its inflation is projected at 11.1%, though the former is to projected to pick up to 2.7% in 2024 and inflation is expected to fall to 6.2%, the EC said.

European rebar prices reflect the weak economic status of Poland, with prices falling to Eur595/mt base ex-works Ruhr on Nov. 15 from Eur745/mt at the beginning of January, according to Platts’ weekly assessment.

Sources have reported weak demand for some long steel products in Northwest Europe including rebar. Mills have made efforts to raise offers for long steel products but were unsuccessful in achieving desired transaction levels. The Platts assessment of Northwest Europe rebar was down Eur5/mt week on week to Nov. 15 at Eur595/mt ex-works. Platts’ assessment of European medium sections price (category 1, S235 JR) was also down Eur5/mt week on week on Nov. 15 at Eur765/mt delivered.

Sources also reported that the customers might be avoiding restocking activity given weak seasonal demand at the end of the year. Market participants told S&P Global that inventory levels were reportedly low and customers might maintain them at those levels because demand is usually slow as the year ends.