This Morning in Metals: US steel capacity utilization rate reaches 78.0%

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This morning in metals news: US steel capacity utilization reached 78.0% last week; Rio Tinto released its Q1 production results; and the Pilbara Ports Authority reported March shipping figures.

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US steel capacity utilization up to 78.0%

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Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

The US steel capacity utilization rate for the week ending April 17 reached 78.0%, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported Monday.

US mills produced 1.77 million net tons during the week. Furthermore, the weekly output marked an increase of 0.5% from the previous week. Meanwhile, compared with the same week in 2020, output rose by 42.7%.

Production has reached 26.7 million net tons in the year to date, or up 0.1% from the same period last year.

Rio Tinto releases Q1 production results

Miner Rio Tinto reported Q1 aluminum production of 803,000 metric tons, a 3% year-over-year increase.

Meanwhile, copper production reached 120,500 metric tons, down 9% year over year. The miner cited lower recoveries and throughput at its Escondida and Kennecott mines. Furthermore, Chinese border restrictions have impacted shipments from the Oyu Tolgoi mine in Mongolia, Rio Tinto said.

“We achieved an overall solid operating performance in the first quarter,” Rio Tinto CEO Jakob Stausholm said. “We have maintained guidance ranges in all our products, with site teams successfully managing the effects of significant rainfall, in particular at our Australian iron ore assets.”

Pilbara shipping throughput dips

Australia’s Pilbara Ports Authority reported March throughput fell 2% year over year, reaching 62.5 million metric tons.

The Port of Port Hedland saw throughput of 47.4 million metric tons. Of that total, iron ore accounted for 46.7 million metric tons.

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