Last week, Italian flats producer Acciaierie d’Italia told customers it would suspend operations at a blast furnace in early August. Local traders said the reason for the shutdown was high energy costs and it was difficult for mills to push up prices for finished steel. In fact, the No. 2 blast furnace of the steel plant has been shut down since July 11, and the planned shutdown time for maintenance is one and a half months. After another blast furnace is shut down, only one blast furnace will remain in operation.