USSK ends short-time work as demand recovers

US Steel Kosice (USSK) has returned to normal working hours in October after observing some signs of strengthening demand in the market, a spokesman for the steelmaker tells Kallanish.

US Steel said at the end of July European demand was beginning to recover, in line with the re-opening of the continent following Covid-19-related restrictions. This came after subsidiary USSK saw shipments plummet -39% on-year in the second quarter to 610,000 net tons (see Kallanish passim).

The Slovakian plant’s raw steel output was down -44% to 645,000nt, meaning capacity utilisation was only 52% versus 92% in Q2 2019. It, however, sourced 225,000nt of iron ore from US Steel’s Flat-Rolled division, up 19% on-year.

USSK’s shipments in the first half of 2020 thus fell -32% on-year to 1.41mnt. Raw steel production fell -34% to 1.53mnt and capacity utilisation was down to 61% from 93% a year earlier.

USSK continues to have blast furnace no.2 idle, meaning 1.7 million nt/year of its overall 5m nt/y hot metal capacity is offline.