This Morning in Metals: U.S. steel production last week fell 36.6% year over year

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This morning in metals news, U.S. steel production levels were down significantly last week, the Census Bureau released April steel import totals and copper prices dipped Wednesday.

U.S. steel production hits capacity rate of 53.2%

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate reached 53.2% for the week ending May 23, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

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Production for that week totaled 1.19 million net tons, down from 1.88 million net tons during the same week in 2019 (when capacity utilization was 80.8%).

Census Bureau releases April steel import data

The U.S. Census Bureau reported preliminary April steel imports totaled $1.8 billion (or 2.5 million metric tons), up from the preliminary March totals of $1.5 billion (1.6 million metric tons).

“The April change in steel imports based on metric tonnage reflected increases in blooms, billets, and slabs,” the Census Bureau reported. “Decreases occurred in oil country goods; galvanized hot dipped sheets and strips; and mechanical tubing. Increases occurred primarily with Brazil. Decreases occurred primarily with Canada, Korea, and Austria.”

Copper prices slide midweek

Despite seeing some upward momentum of late, copper prices chilled Wednesday, Reuters reported, influenced by tensions between the U.S. and China over Hong Kong.

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Three-month LME copper fell 0.8% Wednesday while SHFE copper was down 0.4%, according to the report.

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