Steel capacity utilization on the rise
In other news, Metal Miner reported that the U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate grew incrementally for the week ending March 13, 2021 — rising to 77.7% capacity utilization.
Steel production reached 1.76 million net tons for the week ending March 13, said Metal Miner, reporting AISI data. The 77.7% capacity rate during the week marked an increase from 77.4% the previous week.
One year ago for the same week, steel production was 1.74 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 75.3%, AISI data show.
For the current calendar year, steel production has totaled 17.87 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 76.7%. Output this year is down 6.8% from the same period last year, when capacity utilization reached 79.6%, according to MetalMiner.
“There is certainly strength in the steel industry overall,” said Williams, commenting on the AISI data. “Reports show that we have more capacity available to fill North American’s building needs, especially as high lumber prices drive more projects to consider using steel stud framing instead of wood.”
In fact, lumber costs soared more than 30 percent this year, nearly tripling since last spring’s deep drop in economic activity, says a Bankrate article, citing National Association of Home Builders data.
“Skyrocketing lumber prices are tacking thousands of dollars onto the cost of a new home, an unwelcome increase for buyers already struggling to find homes they can afford,” the Bankrate article says.