This Morning in Metals: US steel capacity utilization dips to 78.1%

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This morning in metals news: US steel capacity utilization fell to 78.1% last week; meanwhile, a cyberattack halted operations of a major US pipeline on Friday; and, lastly, US steel prices continue to surge.

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US steel capacity utilization falls to 78.1%

steel shipment

Hor/Adobe Stock

US steel capacity utilization for the week ending May 8 dipped to 78.1% from 78.7% the previous week, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

Production during the week totaled 1,774,000 net tons, or down 0.8% from the previous week.

However, production increased by 45.1% on a year-over-year basis.

Production for the year to date reached 32,089,000 net tons at steel capacity utilization rate of 77.4%. Output is up 5.7% on a year-over-year basis.

Cyberattack halts Colonial Pipeline

A cyberattack halted operations of the Colonial Pipeline, a major fuel delivery system in the eastern United States, on Friday.

As of Monday, the pipeline had not resumed operations, the Energy Information Administration said. The Colonial Pipeline transports approximately 2.5 million barrels of fuel per day through approximately 5,500 miles of pipeline along the East Coast.

“The pipeline carries refined petroleum products such as gasoline, diesel, heating oil, and jet fuel from Houston, Texas, on the U.S. Gulf Coast up to Linden, New Jersey, and serves several markets along the route through various branch lines,” the EIA notes. “Because no refineries between Alabama and the mid-Atlantic produce substantial quantities of transportation fuels, the southeastern United States is supplied primarily by pipeline flows, and to a lesser degree, with marine shipments from the U.S. Gulf Coast and imports.”

The Biden administration continues to monitor the situation, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement Monday. She added the president is directing agencies to help “alleviate shortages where they may occur.”

US steel prices continue to rise

Meanwhile, US steel prices continue to show upward momentum.

US hot rolled coil closed Monday at $1,456 per short ton, or up 10.39% from the previous month. Furthermore, US hot dipped galvanized closed at $1,770 per short ton, up 10.69% month over month.

In addition, US cold rolled coil closed Monday at $1,645 per short ton, or up 8.8% month over month.

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