US steel capacity utilization ticks up to 77.6%

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gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

After dipping slightly the previous week, US steel capacity utilization jumped to 77.6% for the week ending March 27, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

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US steel capacity utilization rises

US steel capacity utilization picked up from 77.3% for the week ending March 20.

Meanwhile, steel capacity utilization for the same week in 2020 reached 75.3%.

Production during the week ending March 27 reached 1.76 million net tons. The output total marked an increase of 1.1% year over year and an increase of 0.4% from the previous week.

Meanwhile, for the year to date, production totaled 21.4 million net tons. US steel capacity utilization during that period reached 76.8%. Output during the period is down 5.6% year over year. Furthermore, US steel capacity utilization during the same period in 2020 reached 79.6%.

In addition, production for the week ending March 27, 2021, by region totaled:

  • Northeast: 166,000 net tons
  • Great Lakes: 617,000 net tons
  • Midwest: 189,000
  • Southern: 712,000 net tons
  • Western: 76,000 net tons

Steel price gains

Steel prices remain on the rise.

US hot rolled coil closed Wednesday at $1,310 per short ton, or up 8.8% month over month. Cold rolled coil, meanwhile, $1,490 per short ton, or up 8.36%.

Hot dipped galvanized is up 6.98%, hitting $1,578 per short ton on Wednesday.

ATI strike

In supply news, earlier this week we covered the United Steelworkers union’s announcement of a strike at nine Allegheny Technologies Inc. (ATI) sites.

In a statement, the union cited “unfair labor practices” and said members had not received a wage increase since 2014. In its own statement, ATI expressed disappointment in the move.

On Wednesday, the union released an update on negotiations with the company.

“In addition to the company’s unreasonable and unnecessary contract proposals, we believe ATI
has violated federal labor law and engaged in serious unfair labor practices,” the union said Wednesday. “Management’s conduct has undermined our ability to bargain for the contract we deserve, and their actions are intended to intimidate or coerce us from standing together to fight for a fair contract and to break our solidarity.

“In December 2020, before bargaining began, ATI announced shutdowns impacting workers in Louisville and Waterbury and the #3 Finishing Dept at Brackenridge, yet the company still refuses to grant these workers their shutdown benefits and pensions unless, we ratify their contract, thereby holding our members and their families hostage.”

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