USSK reduces pig iron production by one third

The steelmaker is responding to the flooding of the EU steel market by cheap steel.

(Source: Courtesy of USSK)

U. S. Steel Košice (USSK) has idled one of its three blast furnaces as of June 20. It did so in response to the current situation on the European steel market which has been massively impacted by steel products imported into the European Union.

“The European market has been hurt by imported steel from countries with unequal and unfair conditions for doing business,” said Ján Bača, spokesperson for USSK, as cited on the company’s website. ”All this has resulted in additional costs for EU producers due to the rigorous EU environment and climate policies and social standards, which our imported competitors don’t have to comply with.”

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In the opinion of the company, which is the second biggest private employer in the country, there have been no swift and decisive measures from EU institutions or any signs that they are adequately supporting the industry. Specifically, higher electrical costs combined with CO2 credit costs that have risen five times in the past year, and higher raw material costs, along with current prices have jeopardized the business of USSK, they claim.

The EU Emission Trading System (ETS) Directive falls short of securing a global level playing field for EU industries such as steel that are exposed to fierce global competition. Even the most efficient steel plants in Europe face substantial CO2 allowances costs, which competitors from third countries who export massive amounts of steel to Europe do not have to bear.

USSK has also adjusted its production and the range of its products to the current situation, while meeting the demand of its 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,” said Bača.

The monthly production of the idled blast furnace was 125,000 tons of pig iron. The company has not specified when it would be put into operation again, the Pravda daily wrote.

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Theme: European Union

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