U.S. steel capacity utilization picked back up to 85.0% for the week ending Aug. 21, the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) reported.

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Steel capacity rises

hot rolled steel

niteenrk/Adobe Stock

U.S. steel capacity utilization rose to 85.0% from 84.7% the previous week. Steel output reached 1,877,000 net tons last week, up 0.4% from the previous week.

Meanwhile, steel output for the week ending Aug. 21 increased by 27.2% from the same week in 2020, when the capacity utilization rate reached 65.9%.

For the year to date, U.S. steel production totaled 60,173,000 net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 80.4%. The year-to-date production total increased by 19.8% from 2020, when the rate reached 66.6% for the equivalent period.

Steel prices continue to gain

U.S. steel prices have embarked on an essentially uninterrupted rise over the last year.

While recent month-over-month gains are not hitting the double-digit marks we’ve seen over the last year, prices are still moving upward.

U.S. hot rolled coil closed Monday at $1,883 per short ton, or up 3.98% month over month. Meanwhile, U.S. cold-rolled coil closed at $2,088 per short ton, or up 4.56%.

Meanwhile, hot dipped galvanized rose by 2.97% to $2,184 per short ton.

Nucor acquires steel rack solutions provider for $370M

In steel sector M&A news, Nucor Corporation on Monday announced it had acquired Hannibal Industries, Inc., for a cash price of $370 million.

“We are excited to officially welcome our Hannibal teammates as part of the Nucor team,” said Giff Daughtridge, president of Nucor’s sheet and tubular products division. “Adding steel racking solutions to our product portfolio expands our ability to serve our customers in the fast-growing warehouse and distribution market. This acquisition complements our existing product capabilities in this area.”

Hannibal Industries, Inc., is headquartered in Los Angeles and produces 150,000 tons of steel products annually, according to information on its website.

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So far, it has been largely Samsung cell phones or laptops batteries that have caught the media’s attention when devices have caught fire, particularly in contained locations like aircraft or offices.

But a spate of reports suggest the problem could also extend to cars, where the potential for serious consequences could be even greater — both financially and for life and limb.

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GM issues Chevy Bolt recall

lithium-ion battery

Olivier Le Moal/Adobe Stock

News late last week that General Motors is to recall all 2017 to 2022 Chevy Bolt EVs for battery replacements, saying the LG-supplied batteries could have not one but two serious defects with the result they are at risk of causing fires. As a result, LG’s share price plunged by 10% overnight.

GM is to replace the battery modules after two separate incidents of batteries exploding, despite earlier assurances that it was only older Bolts with U.S.-made batteries that had the problem. The recall now also includes those fitted with batteries made in South Korea.

The implications are huge for both companies.

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