Brazil’s CSN to reach full steel capacity by end of November, executives say

Brazilian steelmaker Companhia Siderúrgica Nacional (CSN) is set to reach full capacity by the end of November, with a planned restart for the idled blast furnace (BF) in the latter half of the month amid recovering demand, top executives said on Friday October 16.

“From the third quarter, expectations [for Brazil’s steel market] have rebounded,” chief executive officer Benjamin Steinbruch told analysts and investors during the third-quarter earnings conference call. “So we will restart our halted blast furnace and operate at full capacity in late November.”

CSN decided to idle its No2 BF at the Presidente Vargas mill, in Brazil’s southeastern Rio de Janeiro state, when the Covid-19 pandemic weakened steel demand back in May. The company planned to get it ready to restart before the end of November.

Earlier this month, several sources told Fastmarkets that CSN was on track to restart activities of the No2 BF in November.

“Usiminas and ArcelorMittal have all restarted their blast furnaces and CSN will now do so in the second half of November,” commercial director Luis Martinez said in the conference call on Friday.

“Taking all of these into consideration, Brazilian steel supply reaches 1.2 million tonnes per month, against sales volumes of 1 million tonnes in September. In other words, there is no chance of a steel shortage in the country,” Martinez added.

CSN’s No2 BF has capacity to produce 1.5 million tonnes per year (tpy) of crude steel. Presidente Vargas mill as a whole holds a production capacity of 5.6 million tpy.

Tight supply amid a fast consumption recovery from the lowest levels seen in 2020 due to restrictions to combat Covid-19 have been supporting higher domestic steel prices in Brazil.

Fastmarkets’ latest assessment for steel hot-rolled coil, domestic, monthly, exw Brazil was 3,500-3,660 reais ($625-653) per tonne on October 9, up from 3,150-3,200 reais per tonne in the previous month and a year-to-date increase from 2,245-2,425 Reais per tonne on January 3.

CSN announced it will raise prices further by 7.5-10% in November, Martinez added.

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