Serbia's only flat steel producer, Hebei Iron and Steel Serbia (HBIS Serbia), is about to restart one of its two blast furnaces (BF) after several months of inactivity. HBIS Serbia shut down its smaller blast furnace in July 2022 due to continued low demand and falling prices, Fastmarkets reported at the time.
HBIS Serbia will operate two furnaces for three months and then shut down one for maintenance service in the summer of 2023.
At the time of publication, HBIS Serbia did not respond to a request for comment.
HBIS Serbia operates two blast furnaces with a total capacity of 2.2 million tons of pig iron per year. The company manufactures hot-rolled and cold-rolled coil and tinplate products.
Europe flat steel prices started to recover in January this year, supported by limited supply and restocking activities.
In February, the daily Fastmarkets Hot Rolled Steel Index, Domestic, Northern Europe Exports, averaged EUR 768.42 (USD 811.72) per tonne. This is 48.06 euros per tonne more than the monthly average of 720.36 euros per tonne in January.
A number of European steel producers have resumed steel production from the beginning of 2023 due to the potential for increased profits.
Meanwhile, some European HR market players fear that a gradual recovery in idle capacity could reverse the uptrend in flat prices in the second half of 2023 if end-user demand does not recover.