The impact of the coronavirus outbreak on the flat steel sector in Benelux is increasing since the end of last week.
Liberty Steel has halted its coil rolling mills in Belgium and Luxembourg. While the closure comes as demand from the carmaking sector in particular is expected to fall, it will also put further pressure on the availability of HDG and processed coils in the European market.
“Liberty Liege-Dudelange confirms that it’s three sites at Flémalle, Tilleur and Dudelange are closed as of 21 March. Finished products ready for our customers will still be shipped. We apologise to our customers for any impact caused as a result of this decision,” the company says. Liberty Steel can produce almost 1 million tonnes/year of HDG in Belgium and over 600,000 t/y in Luxembourg. The company is also active in producing packaging steels, Kallanish notes.
Meanwhile Tata Steel confirms in a note that it also is implementing production adjustments at some of its European mills. It says nevertheless that “… to date, the impact of these changes on its steelmaking hubs in IJmuiden (Netherlands) and Port Talbot (UK) has not been significant.”
“While demand is steady in some sectors, production pauses in the European automotive sector are expected to have a knock-on impact on steel supply,” Tata Steel says. “Given this is a fast-moving situation, Tata Steel is working closely with customers and suppliers to reduce possible impacts from the coronavirus outbreak and restrictions.”