Swedish steelmaker SSAB sees uncertain Q4 after weaker Q3 production

Swedish steelmaker SSAB described the fourth quarter as continuing to lack certainty due to rising inflation, a shortage of components and risks associated with the war in Ukraine, the company said in a statement Oct. 25.

The European market had weakened, SSAB said, prompting it to cut production of construction-related products. To reduce capacity in Q4, the maintenance of a 1.3 million mt blast furnace in Raahe, Finland, will be brought forward and start in mid-November, the company added, with works expected to last for six-to-eight weeks.

The outlook for the markets of SSAB Special Steels and SSAB Americas was expected to be more stable, while Q4 raw material costs were also seen as steadier than in Q3, it said.

Q3 production in the third quarter was affected by planned maintenance outages in SSAB Europe and SSAB Americas, which also hit shipments, with the European unit also suffering from lower demand.

Overall, SSAB crude steel production in Q3 slipped to 1.92 million mt from 1.99 million mt in Q2, but was higher than Q3 2021’s 1.84 million mt.

Total shipments in Q3 were 1.47 million mt, down on Q2’s 1.71 million mt and up on 1.63 million mt in the year-ago quarter.

Q3 shipments in Europe fell 10% on the year to 713,000 mt, while crude steel production slipped to 1.07 million mt.

SSAB Americas’ Q3 shipments dropped 14% on the year to 416,000 mt, with crude steel production down to 256,000 mt versus 293,000 mt, due to annual maintenance at its facility Montpelier, Iowa.

Special steel shipments in Q3 dropped to 336,000 mt, compared with the year-ago quarter when they were 348,000 mt, while crude steel output was 592,000 mt down from 469,000 mt.

Customer demand for fossil-free steel continued to rise with SSAB starting a partnership with Oshkosh Corp. which will be the first in the US to develop prototypes for commercial vehicles in fossil-free steel. Feasibility studies for SSAB’s planned mini-mills in Lulea, Sweden, and Raahe are continuing as planned.

Platts, part of S&P Global Commodity Insights, assessed hot-rolled coil in Northwest Europe down Eur10 ($9.90) at Eur650/mt ex-works Ruhr Oct. 24.

— Annalisa Villa