This Morning in Metals: US steel capacity utilization falls to 83.4%

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This morning in metals news: U.S. steel capacity utilization dropped to 83.4% last week; the Associated General Contractors of America weighed in on the passage of the infrastructure bill in the House of Representatives; and, lastly, the aluminum price has continued to slump.

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US steel capacity utilization down to 83.4%

steel production

photollurg/Adobe Stock

U.S. steel capacity utilization fell to 83.4% for the week ending Nov. 6, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The rate marked a drop from 84.3% the previous week.

Meanwhile, steel output last week totaled 1.84 million net tons, or down 1.0% week over week. However, the weekly total remained up 14.3% year over year.

For the year to date, output reached 80.7 million net tons, or up 20.1% year over year.

AGCA touts infrastructure bill

After the House of Representatives approved the over $1.2 trillion infrastructure package on Friday, industry groups of all stripes offered their reactions.

The Associated General Contractors of America (AGCA) said the bill will provide a “needed boost” to the construction sector.

“Because of today’s vote, state and local officials will be able to invest in a more efficient supply chain network,” the AGCA said. “They will also be able to improve roads and bridges to make them safer and more reliable. Metro areas will be able to better maintain and expand transit systems. And water authorities will be able to further safeguard the quality of local drinking water, among other improvements funded by this bill. The measure also provides needed investments to make infrastructure more resilient to extreme weather events.”

Aluminum price falls

As Stuart Burns explained last Tuesday, aluminum prices have plummeted after peaking around $3,200 per metric ton in October.

However, that has changed in recent weeks, as China has moved to stabilize surging coal prices.

“The aluminum price has been undermined by falling coal prices in China following efforts by regulators to curb excessive speculation, hoarding and profiteering from what remains a tight domestic thermal coal market,” Burns wrote.

The LME three-month price closed last week at $2,558 per metric ton, or down about 20% from the October peak.

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