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 checked in at 82.1% for the year to date, General Motors is working to transform its international operations, and copper prices have shown some upward momentum so far this month.

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U.S. steel capacity utilization rate checks in at 82.1%

U.S. steel mills have produced 12.58 million tons of steel this year through Feb. 15, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), at a capacity utilization rate of 82.1%.

The year-to-date production total marked a 1.4% increase from the same period in 2019, when capacity utilization reached 81.3%.

GM to wind down Australia, New Zealand operations

General Motors announced it plans to wind down its operations in Australia and New Zealand as part of its effort to “transform its international operations” and “strengthen its core business, drive significant cost efficiencies and take action in markets that cannot earn an adequate return for its shareholders.”

“GM announced today that it would wind down sales, design and engineering operations in Australia and New Zealand and retire the Holden brand by 2021,” the automaker said. “The company will focus its strategies for the market on the GM specialty vehicle business. The company also announced that it had signed a binding term sheet with Great Wall Motors to purchase GM’s Rayong vehicle manufacturing facility in Thailand; and would withdraw Chevrolet from the domestic market in Thailand by the end of 2020.”

Copper prices make gains

The LME three-month copper price reached $5,811/mt to start the week, up from $5,602/mt on Feb. 3, according to MetalMiner IndX data.

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However, the copper price is down 7.85% from a month ago.

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