U.S. Steel has fired two idled blast furnaces at Gary Works as the steel industry is gradually recovering after being hit by COVID-19 related challenges.

The steelmaker is expected to keep its no.4 blast furnace idled till at least the end of the year, along with blast furnace A at the Granite City Works in Illinois. 

 

The overall annual production capacity of these two blast furnaces is 2.9mn mt of pig iron. However, its impact could be limited amid weak demand. In the second quarter of 2020, the company reported a total loss of $589mn.  

In April 2020, the steelmaker had idled its blast furnaces due to weak domestic steel demand and the pandemic forced almost all automakers to remain shut for more than three months.  

 

In July, most of the industries resumed operations at full capacities after recovery in steel demand from automotive, appliance, construction and packaging industries. The company has seen an increase in new orders intake in June and July by almost three folds compared to April and May.

 

It expects a faster recovery in demand in the third quarter as more than half of July’s orders were indicative of stronger demand in September and October.

At Gary Works, after restarting no.6 blast furnace in July, blast furnace no. 8 was started in early August and a blast furnace at Mon Valley had been fired in June.

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