This morning in metals news, the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate reached 82.1% as of Jan. 11, Pilbara Ports Authority throughput in December 2019 rose 2% and the U.S. removed the label of currency manipulator it had imposed on China last year.
U.S. steel capacity utilization rate hits 82.1%
According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the U.S. steel industry’s capacity utilization rate for the year through Jan. 11 reached 82.1%.
During the period, mills produced a total of 3.01 million tons, which marked a 2.3% year-over-year increase (last year during the same period, the capacity utilization rate was 80.4%).
Pilbara Ports throughput up in December
Meanwhile, the Pilbara Ports Authority reported December 2019 throughput increased 2% compared with December 2018.
Throughput in December totaled 64.6 million tons, while it reached 356.2 million tons for the 2019-2020 financial year.
Port Hedland, a critical iron ore terminal, saw throughput of 47.9 million tons, of which 47.3 million tons were iron ore exports. The port’s December throughput marked a 3% year-over-year increase.
U.S. lifts currency manipulator designation from China
As the U.S. and China prepare to sign a phase one trade deal this week, earlier this week the U.S. removed a previously imposed currency manipulator designation levied against China last year.
“The Treasury Department has helped secure a significant Phase One agreement with China that will lead to greater economic growth and opportunity for American workers and businesses,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin said in a prepared statement. “China has made enforceable commitments to refrain from competitive devaluation, while promoting transparency and accountability.”
However, the Treasury Department included China and nine others on a “Monitoring List” of countries that “merit close attention to their currency practices.”
In addition to China, the list included: Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam.