This morning in metals news: US steel capacity utilization picked up to 78.7% last week; the US Census Bureau reported US goods and services trade figures for March; and Ford released its April sales totals.

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US steel capacity utilization reaches 78.7%

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Pavel Ignatov/Adobe Stock

US steel capacity utilization for the week ending May 1 reached 78.7%, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

The rate increased from 78.4% the week before and from 55.2% during the same week in 2020.

Output last week totaled 1,788,000 net tons, or up 44.4% year over year.

US goods and services deficit rises

The US goods and services trade deficit picked up by $3.9 billion in March from the previous month, reaching $74.4 billion.

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AliFuat/Adobe Stock

This morning in metals news: U.S. Steel announced it is ending plans for $1.5 billion in upgrades to the Mon Valley Works site; the Census Bureau reported construction spending figures for March; and the copper price has heated up once again.

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U.S. Steel ends Mon Valley Works plans

In an open letter posted to the company website Friday, U.S. Steel CEO David B. Burritt announced the steelmaker is ending plans to spend $1.5 billion in plant upgrades for the Mon Valley Works facility.

According to Burritt, the decarbonization efforts included in the upgrades do not go for enough.

“Today is a difficult day,” Burritt said. “U. S. Steel is setting aside this project as we step forward to meet the needs of a rapidly changing world. In this world – a world that still needs steel – we need to find aggressive decarbonization solutions. The project we had planned in 2019 would have decreased our carbon footprint, but we must now move farther and faster. Just as steel transformed the world, the world is now transforming steel.”

Burritt emphasized that much has changed in the two years since the company announced plans to upgrade the plant.

“At the onset of the pandemic, U. S. Steel agreed with the need for the County Health Department to temporarily delay its permitting process for the Mon Valley Works, but this delay allowed for a consequential window of time during which we expanded our understanding of steelmaking’s future in a rapidly decarbonizing world,” he added.The world is changing rapidly and we’re on the ten-yard line with 90 yards ahead of us.”

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