Steel output in US stays on stable track
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Steel output in US stays on stable track

Mills in the U.S. held their output levels despite hiccups in the auto assembly sector.

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March 30, 2021

Steel output in the United States rose slightly in the last full week of March compared with the week before, according to the Washington-based American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). The stable output might be seen as encouraging in an environment where the automotive sector is facing bottlenecks because of a global undersupply of semiconductor chips.

In the week ending March 27, AISI says steel production of 1.76 million tons resulted from mills that operated at a 77.6 percent capability utilization (capacity) rate. The capacity rate was up slightly from the 77.3 percent the week before, when 1.75 million tons of steel was made.

Output the final week of March 2020 also was up compared with the identical week in 2020, when 1.74 million tons of steel was produced by mills operating at 75.3 percent of capacity. At that time, steelmakers were just beginning to respond to the likelihood of an economic slump to be caused by COVID-19 workplace, leisure time and travel restrictions.

In the 2021 economy, in addition to the auto industry supply chain hiccup, the construction sector has started to issue warnings about the rising cost of steel being an impediment to the greenlighting of new projects.

The perceived limitations causing flashing yellow lights in the construction sector could, at the same time, make budgets for certain demolition projects more favorable.