German steelmaker thyssenkrupp plans to shut down one of its Duisburg, Germany blast furnaces (BF) in July for a three-month reline.
Martin Stillger of thyssenkrupp’s distribution unit, Materials Services said while speaking at the Kallanish European Steel Markets virtual conference on Thursday, that the maintenance was imperative to ensure the longevity of the assets and not to manage markets as companies lose sales, especially while relining in a high cycle.
Laurent Plasman, head of operational marketing of ArcelorMittal’s flat products operations in Europe agreed, saying that ArceloMittal recently relined one of its BF in Gent, Belgium, and restarted it in March 2021.
The company representatives were answering inquiries given the effects on production that limited output and placed pressure on prices to move up on limited inventories.
During the conference, Dick Sands director at Stemcor London noted that neither Europe nor North America will be massively ramping up production, which could support high prices for years to come. Antonio Marcegaglia chief executive officer and chairman of Italy’s Marcegaglia agreed that with China keeping control of its domestic steel industry, stabilizing prices, and making changes to minimize pollution along with demand and production dynamics in the EU, Europe may continue with strong finished steel prices. They indicated US steel prices may soften earlier than those in Europe.
The speakers said that the US-EU cooperation seeks to address overcapacity, imposition of the US 232 tariffs, and the EU retaliatory and safeguard tariffs that began in 2018. Some resolution and evolution of the tariffs scheme could come by the end of 2021 which could ease some supplies for both regions.