This Morning in Metals: Steel capacity utilization hits 84.5%

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This morning in metals news: U.S. steel capacity utilization dropped slightly last week; the number of drilled but uncompleted oil wells in the U.S. declined in July; and, lastly, the construction sector shed 3,000 jobs in August.

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Steel capacity utilization hits 84.5%

hot rolled steel

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The U.S. steel capacity utilization rate for the week ending Sept. 4 fell to 84.5%, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported this week.

The rate marked a decline from 84.9% the previous week.

Meanwhile, steel output last week totaled 1,866,000 net tons, AISI reported. The total marked a 0.4% decline from the previous week but a 23.5% year-over-year rise.

DUCs decline in July

Meanwhile, in energy news, the Energy Information Administration (EIA) reported drilled but uncompleted (DUC) wells in the U.S. fell to their lowest monthly level in July since November 2017.

DUCs in July totaled 5,957, the EIA reported.

“The decline in DUCs in most major U.S. onshore oil-producing regions, especially in the Permian region, reflects more well completions and, at the same time, less new well drilling activity,” the EIA reported. “The completion of more wells is increasing oil production in the Permian region, but the completions are reducing the DUC inventories, which could limit oil production growth in the United States in the coming months.”

Construction sector jobs fall

The Associated General Contractors of America reported the U.S. construction sector lost 3,000 jobs from July to August.

AGCA said “ongoing declines in nonresidential segments offset a pickup among residential building and remodeling firms” underpinned the loss.

“Today’s figures show that nonresidential building and infrastructure contractors are having a hard time recovering from the impact of the pandemic on demand for structures,” said Ken Simonson, the association’s chief economist. “At the same time, our survey finds many contractors have job openings but are experiencing a lack of qualified applicants, shortages of materials and long delivery delays.”

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