US Steel Kosice BF restart concerns EU flat steel market

Slovakia-based integrated steelmaker US Steel Kosice (USSK) has restarted a second blast furnace (BF) at its Kosice facility, the company told Fastmarkets on Wednesday January 25.

A spokesperson for the company confirmed earlier this week the restart of BF2, which has a capacity of 1.8 million tonnes per year of pig iron, after almost five months of downtime.

BF2 was stopped in September 2022 due to poor market fundamentals, Fastmarkets reported.

USSK also confirmed the restart of BF1 last week.

US Steel Kosice usually has three BFs operating at any given time, with a combined capacity of 5 million tpy of pig iron. The company produces at steel products: hot-rolled, cold-rolled and hot-dipped galvanized coil.

Currently all three BFs are operational, the spokesperson told Fastmarkets.

“I can confirm that all three blast furnaces have been in operation since the start of this week [January 23],” the spokesperson said.

The news about one more BF being brought back online raised concerns among the EU at steel market participants. They were worried that the gradual restart of idled steelmaking capacities that were suspended in the fourth quarter of 2022 would threaten the recent uptrend in prices in the EU
at steel market.

Earlier in January, ArcelorMittal said it was considering restarting a BF at its facility in Gijon, in northwest Spain.

Market sources said that the sharp price rises in the at steel segment were prompted by a more balanced market, and therefore increasing steel output might hamper further increases.

Fastmarkets calculated its daily steel hot-rolled coil index domestic, exw Northern Europe at €754.55 ($820.57) per tonne on Tuesday, up by €2.05 per tonne from €752.50 per tonne on Monday.

The latest calculation of the index was up by €39.13 per tonne week on week and by €85.80 per tonne month on month.

By Julia Bolotova