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Spanish steel producers have abruptly idled output at all their operations following the publication of a royal decree-law on the Boletín Oficial del Estado website, which states all non-essential companies must suspend operations from March 30 to April 9.


Section five of the royal decree-law annex states that only those manufacturing industries that offer supplies, equipment and materials necessary for the continuity of activities deemed “essential” by the government may continue to operate.


Spain’s steel industry, which includes ferrous scrap-intensive steelmakers such as CELSA Group, Grupo Megasa, and Sidenor, were notified at 23:35hrs local time on March 29 that they had 24 hours to comply with the new regulations.


In an interview on March 30, director general of Unión de Empresas Siderúrgicas (Union of Steelmaking Enterprises – Unesid), Andrés Barceló, described the royal decree as “botched” given that blast furnaces cannot safely suspend output with just 24 hours’ notice.


Unesid has sent a letter to the Ministry of Industry to seek further clarification on other points too such as, what will happen to vessels chartered months ago to import raw materials and export steel products? And how they will be transported to and from their respective plants?

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