European steelmaker ArcelorMittal plans to restart its idled 2 million mt/year blast furnace at its flat steel plant at Fos-sur-Mer in France in April, the company’s spokesman told S&P Global Commodity Insights on Feb. 20.
The steelmaker had announced the closure of the blast furnace in November 2022 in response to a negative trend which settled in the European coil market, a surge in energy costs and a rise in import volumes as well as a decline in demand.
Domestic coil prices, however, have been recovering since December 2022, driven by improved demand and reduced availability. By the start of December, distributors had finally resumed restocking after reducing inventories accumulated in the second quarter of 2022. Import offers have also moved up since then, while European steelmakers have kept production rates low and stopped some furnaces.
Platts assessed domestic hot-rolled coil prices in Northwest Europe at Eur790/mt ex-works Ruhr on Feb. 20, up Eur185/mt from Nov. 28, 2022, when they were the lowest.
ArcelorMittal operates two BFs at Fos-sur-Mer with a total capacity of 4 million mt/year. Its other blast furnace remained operating last year.
— Maria Tanatar