This Morning in Metals: U.S. steel capacity utilization rate hits 82.1%

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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.

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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.”

Keep up to date on everything going on in the world of trade and tariffs via MetalMiner’s Trade Resource Center.

In addition to China, the list included: Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Switzerland and Vietnam.

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