This Morning in Metals: U.S. Steel Sector’s Capacity Utilization Reaches 81.5%

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Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news, U.S. steel mills churned out steel at a capacity utilization rate of 81.5%, the E.U. officially blocked the proposed joint venture of the European operations of Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp, and the Aluminum Association is looking for a new CEO.

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Capacity Rate Hits 81.5% Through June 1

The U.S. steel sector reached a capacity utilization rate of 81.5% for the year through June 8, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

Adjusted year-to-date production for that period reached 43.1 million net tons, up 6.0% from the 40.7 million net tons during the same period last year (the capacity utilization rate for that period was 76.7%).

E.U. Blocks Tata, Thyssenkrupp JV

Signs were pointing in a negative direction last month for the fate of the proposed joint venture of Tata Steel and Thyssenkrupp’s European operations.

The E.U.’s competition regulators made it official this week, rejecting the proposed JV.

“Steel is a crucial input for many things we use in our everyday life, such as canned food and cars,” Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said in a release. “Millions of people in Europe work in these sectors and companies depend on competitive steel prices to sell on a global level. Without remedies addressing our serious competition concerns, the merger between Tata Steel and ThyssenKrupp would have resulted in higher prices. So we prohibited the merger to avoid serious harm to European industrial customers and consumers.”

Competition regulators were concerned the merger would raise prices and result in fewer choices for steel consumers in the market, arguing the firms did not make enough concessions to assuage those concerns.

The proposed JV would have yielded the second-largest steelmaking entity in Europe, behind only ArcelorMittal.

Aluminum Association CEO Resigns

The Aluminum Association announced the resignation of President and CEO Heidi Brock, who is leaving the industry group to become president and CEO of the American Forest & Paper Association.

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Brock led the Aluminum Association for eight years.

“I am grateful for the outstanding engagement and support I have received from the leadership, members and staff of the Aluminum Association for the past eight years,” Brock said in a release. “Working together, we have contributed to the growth of the U.S. aluminum industry and strengthened the communities in which it operates. It has been a privilege to serve in this role, and I will miss working closely with the exceptional team at the Aluminum Association and the wonderful representatives of our member companies. Given their talent, commitment, and strong industry story, I have every confidence in the Association’s continued success.”

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