Gerdau is restarting operations at its #2 blast furnace at the Ouro Branco mill on July 1, a company spokesperson told Davis Index. 

 

The 1.5mn mt per year blast furnace, is located in Minas Gerais, Brazil, and had suspended operations in early April. 

 

The company had also accelerated some of its planned maintenance work that required temporary idling during the government restrictions because of COVID-19, which also resulted in weak demand in the construction sector. Gerdau continued operating its 3mn mt annual capacity #1 blast furnace also at the Ouro Branco site during this period.

 

According to World Steel Association (worldsteel), crude steel output fell by 22.6pc to 2.1mn in May compared to the same month a year ago.

 

Brazil’s GDP forecast for 2020 is presently expected to decline 6.5pc compared to 2019 largely due to the slower economy resulting from COVID-19. The GDP forecast in May was a fall of 5.9pc in 2020 compared to 2019 but was downgraded to 6.25pc in early June and further decreased in late June. 

 

Construction growth in Brazil decreased to 6.7pc un Q1 2020 from the previous quarter. The second quarter is expected to reflect the lowest level of construction activity in Brazil for 2020 with improvements expected in 2021. 

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