US steel capacity utilization rate reaches 82.7%

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U.S. steel capacity utilization reached 82.7% for the week ending June 26, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported Monday.

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Steel capacity utilization takes small step back

capacity utilization

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However, U.S. steel capacity utilization for the aforementioned week dipped from 82.9% the previous week.

Steel production during the week ending June 26 totaled 1,835,000 net tons, down 0.2% from the previous week. Meanwhile, production jumped by 44.3% on a year-over year basis.

During the same week in 2020, steel capacity languished at just 56.8%, as the industry had only just started to recover from the demand hit from March-May 2020.

As we noted last week, global crude steel production gained by 16.5% year over year in May. However, production dipped slightly in May from the previous month.

As Stuart Burns explained, the U.S. steel market remains tight, despite the steady rise in capacity utilization over the past year. Furthermore, U.S. buyers looking to import will likely have to look somewhere other than Europe.

“We are seeing a confluence of restrained supply overwhelmed by massive bounceback demand,” he wrote. “It is a squeeze if not orchestrated by the mills then at least assisted.

“Nor will the widely reported probable removal of Section 232 tariffs on European mills this year have much impact on metal supply to U.S. consumers. Europe is almost as tight as the U.S. and simply doesn’t have much capacity to supply the U.S. market in 2021.”

Steel prices continue to rise

As for prices, U.S. steel prices remain on the ascent.

U.S. hot rolled coil closed Monday at $1,707 per short ton, or up 8.45% month over month. Meanwhile, U.S. cold rolled coil closed at $1,893 per short ton, or up 7.31% month over month.

Hot dipped galvanized closed at $2,006 per short ton, or up 6.48% month over month.

Steel plate closed at $1,392 per short ton, up 5.45% month over month.

Volatility is the name of the game. Do you have a steel buying strategy that can handle the ups and downs?

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