US Steel Košice decides to idle Blast Furnace 2

by David Fleschen

After having taken the decision to idle Blast Furnace No 2, US Steel Košice has released the following statement:

"After the careful evaluation of the situation of the EU steel market massively impacted by steel products imported into the EU we decided to act and protect our business in a proactive way. Regrettably, there has not been swift and decisive measures from EU institutions, which have not shown signs of adequately supporting the industry. We have to be responsible to our employees and customers and to protect our business for the future.

We have decided to idle our Blast Furnace No 2 starting June 20th, 2019 and to adjust our production and the range of our products to the current situation while meeting the demand of our customers. We are going to watch the situation on the market very carefully and we are ready to react to the needs of our customers.  The European market has been hurt by imported steel from countries with unequal and unfair conditions for doing business. All this has resulted in additional costs for EU producers due to rigorous EU environment and climate policies and social standards, which our imported competitors don’t have to comply with.

Specifically, higher electrical costs in our home region combined with CO2 credit costs that have risen five times in the past year, and higher raw material costs, along with current prices has jeopardized our business.  If these specific conditions do not find the appropriate equilibrium it will significantly impact our business, our employees and our stakeholders.

The EU Emission Trading System (ETS) Directive falls short of securing a global level playing field for the EU industry, such as steel, exposed to fierce global competition as even the most efficient steel plants in Europe face substantial CO2 allowances costs, which our competitors from third countries massively exporting steel to Europe don't have to bear at all.

Despite all obstacles, we continue to produce steel in a cost-effective way to ensure interests of all our stakeholders. At the same time, we feel as our obligation to fight for level playing field and fair market conditions."

Source and Photo: U. S. Steel Košice


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