gui yong nian/Adobe Stock

US steel mills churned out metal at a steel capacity utilization rate of 77.2% for the week ending Feb. 27, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

See why technical analysis is a superior forecasting methodology over fundamental analysis and why it matters for your steel buy.

Steel capacity utilization gains

Last week’s rate marked a slight increase from the previous week, when steel capacity utilization reached 77.0%.

Production last week reached 1.75 million net tons.

The production total marked a 7.0% decrease from the same period in the previous year. Furthermore, capacity utilization during the same period in 2020 reached 81.3%.

In addition, production for the week ending Feb. 27, 2021, increased 0.2% from the previous week. Production during the week ending Feb. 20, 2021, reached 1.745 million net tons at a steel capacity utilization rate of 77.0%.

Meanwhile, adjusted year-to-date production through Feb. 27, 2021, totaled 14.36 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 76.5%. Output is down 8.4% year over year.

At the same point last year, steel capacity utilization had reached 81.9%.

By region, production during the week ending Feb. 27, 2021, totaled:

  • Northeast: 155,000 net tons
  • Great Lakes: 624,000 net tons
  • Midwest: 181,000 net tons
  • Southern: 715,000 net tons
  • Western: 74,000 net tons

Steel prices

Steel prices continue to rise in the US, as buyers struggle to secure supply (even despite slowly gaining capacity utilization rates).

US hot rolled coil closed Monday at $1,204 per short ton, or up 9.65% from a month ago.

Meanwhile, US cold rolled coil rose 8.87% to $1,375 per short ton.

US hot dipped galvanized is up 7.12% to $1,475 per short ton.

Plate is up 9.77% to $1,079 per short ton.

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

Brent crude oil price chart

SodelVladyslav/Adobe Stock

The Brent crude oil price has continued a dramatic recovery this year.

Brent crude last week briefly crossed $66 a barrel (where it started 2020). A recovery in demand has stoked oil prices. That demand surge is largely coming from the prospects of an acceleration in transport activity as vaccine programs roll out.

Find more insight on MetalMiner’s LinkedIn.

Brent crude oil and other commodities

Oil is, of course, not alone.

Many commodities have been boosted this year by both the reality and the expectation of increased demand.

Copper has been one of the stellar performers, topping $9,000 per metric ton for the first time since 2011. This largely seems to follow on the strength of rising electric vehicle demand. As such, it seems almost counterintuitive that an investment dynamic, electrification, that is driving one commodity, copper, to decade highs is also driving oil — whose greatest threat is electrification — to also rise strongly.

But that’s commodity markets for you. One common denominator for both is perceived tight supply, for oil in the short term and copper in the longer term.


1 2 3 4 1,705