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Why U.S. Steel Output Is On The Rise

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The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate reached 84.1% for the week ending Nov. 13, the American Iron and Steel Institute reported.

Steel capacity utilization

Steel capacity utilization reached 84.1%, up from 83.4% the previous week.

Steel output last week totaled 1.86 million tons, up 0.6% from the previous week. On a year-over-year basis, steel output jumped by 14.5%. Last year at the same point, steel capacity utilization reached 73.3%.

For the year to date, steel output has reached 82.58 million tons, up 20.0% year over year.

Infrastructure bill boost

On Monday, President Joe Biden signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law on the heels of months of debate in Congress.

The over $1 trillion bill includes $550 billion for infrastructure improvements for roads, bridges, the electric grid and more.

“This law makes this the most significant investment in roads and bridges in the past 70 years,” Biden said during remarks on the South Lawn on Monday. “It makes the most significant investment in passenger rail in the past 50 years and in public transit ever.

“So, what — what that means is you’re going to be safer, and you’re going to get there faster, and we’re going to have a whole hell of a lot pollution — less pollution in the air.

“The bipartisan law will modernize our ports, our airports, our freight rail to make it easier for companies to get goods to market; reduce supply chain bottlenecks, as we’re experiencing now; and lower cost for you and your family.”

As we noted previously, the American Iron and Steel Institute estimated an increase of up to 5 million tons in steel demand for every $100 billion in investment.

Meanwhile, the Aluminum Association touted the bill’s benefits for the aluminum sector.

“The $37 billion of new bridge funding is vital to our industry building our nation’s bridges back better,” the industry group said this week. “New aluminum alloys allow for reduced maintenance and a greater service lifespan for a cheaper cost over the entire life cycle of a bridge. Aluminum decks also offer an attractive means of increasing bridge load ratings by reducing the dead load of the bridge itself. Such solutions can be installed at much lower cost and reduced traffic downtime.”

Steel prices soften

As we noted in this month’s Raw Steels MMI, steel prices have finally started to soften.

The U.S. hot rolled coil price closed last week at $1,859 per short ton, down 3.58% month over month. Meanwhile, the U.S. hot dipped galvanized price closed last week at $2,201 per short ton, down 0.9% month over month.

The cold rolled coil price closed at $2,126 per short ton, down 0.7% month over month.

Meanwhile, the plate price fell 1.0% to $1,807 per short ton.

By AG Metal Miner

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