US Steel prices, shipments down in Q2 of 2020

U.S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt expects to see healthier orders from automotive manufacturers in the third quarter.

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United States Steel Corp. (U.S. Steel), Pittsburgh, has announced it had net losses for the second quarter of 2020. According to steel producer’s latest earnings report, the company posted a net loss of $589 million, or $3.36 per diluted share, for the second quarter of the year. Adjusted net loss was $469 million, or $2.67 per diluted share. This compared with second-quarter 2019 net earnings of $68 million, or 39 cents per diluted share. Adjusted net earnings for second-quarter 2019 were $78 million, or 45 cents per diluted share.

Prices for flat-rolled steel dropped by more than 7 percent year over year, and prices were off by 16 percent for tubular steel. Total shipments dropped by about 37 percent, U.S. Steel reports.

Despite second-quarter losses, U.S. Steel President and CEO David B. Burritt says he is encouraged by the recovery in market conditions as automotive original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are “nearing normalized production levels.”

Regarding demand from automotive OEMs, he says, “Healthy order activity has continued into the third quarter." 

Burritt adds that construction demand is exceeding the company’s expectations, and he expects that demand to remain robust, particularly for value-added construction products.

In the second quarter of 2020, U.S. Steel reports that it restarted two blast furnaces to respond to increasing activity. The company plans to restart an additional furnace at Gary Works in Indiana Aug. 1 after more than three months of downtime. 

“We exceeded our second-quarter guidance as North American flat-rolled segment shipments meaningfully accelerated in the second half of June, resulting in better than expected production efficiencies and cost benefits across our mines and steel plants,” Burritt says. “Still, second-quarter performance was impacted by COVID-19, and the recurring costs associated with a significant portion of our steelmaking operations being idled in the quarter. 

“We are encouraged by the accelerating pace of incoming orders across our steelmaking and sheet finishing facilities,” he continues. “While a portion of operating inefficiencies will continue to impact third-quarter performance, we are confident that the second quarter was the trough for the year.”