This Morning in Metals: Steel capacity utilization rate reaches 70.4%

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hot rolled steel

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This morning in metals news: the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate for the week ended Oct. 31 jumped to 70.4%; Cleveland-Cliffs said the Trump administration will take action under Section 232 vis-a-vis imports of laminations and imported grain-oriented electrical steel (GOES); and, finally, the LME three-month primary aluminum price picked up to start the week.

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Steel capacity utilization rises to 70.4%

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate continued to make incremental gains last week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

U.S. steel mills tallied a capacity utilization rate of 70.4% during the week ended Oct. 31, up from 69.7% the previous week.

Production during the week ended Oct. 31 reached 1.56 million net tons, up 1.0% from the previous week. The weekly total, however, marked a 13.7% year-over-year decline.

Cleveland-Cliffs praises Trump administration for Section 232 action

Earlier this year, the Trump administration launched a Section 232 probe covering laminations and wound cores.

On Monday, Cleveland-Cliffs praised the Trump administration, saying it planned to take action using Section 232.

“Cleveland-Cliffs Inc. today praised President Trump and his Administration for taking action to save 1,400 jobs at AK Steel’s Butler, Pennsylvania and Zanesville, Ohio operations,” Cliffs said in a release. “President Trump’s Administration will be moving forward with a Section 232 action implementing a remedy covering imported laminations and cores of Grain Oriented Electrical Steel (GOES).”

Lourenco Goncalves, president, chairman and CEO of Cleveland-Cliffs, also praised the administration.

“On behalf of Cleveland-Cliffs and 1,400 workers who melt and manufacture electrical steel, I strongly commend and thank President Trump, U.S. Trade Representative Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, and Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross, for taking action under Section 232 to end the circumvention of existing national security tariffs covering GOES,” Goncalves said in a release. “Furthermore, I am pleased that the Department of Commerce will take action to re-evaluate recently-granted GOES Section 232 product exclusions.”

Aluminum price gains

Finally, the LME three-month aluminum price closed Monday at $1,839 per metric ton.

The price increased 5.72% over the past month. In mid-October, the LME three-month aluminum price reached its 2020 peak of $1,863 per metric ton.

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