This Morning in Metals: Steel capacity utilization rises to 71.4%

hot rolled steel
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This morning in metals news: the U.S.’s steel capacity utilization rate reached 71.4% for the week ended Nov. 14; a survey by INVERTO took a look at procurement trends during the COVID-19 pandemic; and steel prices continue to rise.
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Capacity utilization rises to 71.4%

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate for the week ended Nov. 14 reached 71.4%, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.
The rate marked an increase from 71.1% the previous week. However, the rate fell from 78.8% during the same time frame in 2019.
Steel production during the week ended Nov. 14, 2020, totaled 1.58 million net tons. The production total marked a 0.4% increase from the previous week but a 13.3% year-over-year decline.

INVERTO releases Raw Materials Study 2020

A survey conducted as part of INVERTO’s Raw Materials Study 2020 delved into the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on procurement and ways buyers have tried to adapt to the challenges of 2020.
Among its key findings, INVERTO noted of the survey respondents that “supply security is underestimated,” with few expressing concern about raw materials supply in the future.
Furthermore, INVERTO concluded few companies had taken “structured, profound and long-term countermeasures” in response to the pandemic.

In addition, few companies have taken advantage of low raw materials prices, including for oil. According to the survey results, 53% of companies did not expect raw materials prices to rise over the next 18 months (when they were low in the spring).
For iron and steel, 18% of respondents expected price increases, while 12% expected increases for aluminum. In addition, 19% expected price increases for copper.

Steel prices continue rise

Speaking of materials prices, U.S. steel prices show no signs of slowing down, even as steel capacity utilization has posted incremental gains.
U.S. hot-rolled coil closed Monday at $701 per short ton, up 10.05% month over month.
Meanwhile, cold-rolled coil closed Monday at $870 per short ton, up 7.41% month over month.
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