US steel sector thrives as mills move up quality ladder

Ahead of the S&P Global Platts Global Metals Awards in London, on May 16, The Barrel presents a special series of articles looking at the global metals trade. In this feature, Nicholas Tolomeo, Michael Fitzgerald and Joe Eckelman report on changing approaches to steelmaking in the US, as companies target higher-quality steel products. When it comes to raw materials, steel mills in the US are developing expensive tastes. Of all the major steel-producing nations, no country is so geared toward electric-arc furnace (EAF), flat-rolled steel production as the US. Profits from EAFs, or mini-mills, are at their peak, and producers Nucor and Steel Dynamics last year had record profits of $2.4 billion and $1.3 billion, respectively. As the US steel market moves further towards a market dominated by EAF, flat-rolled production, the shopping list that mini-mill raw material buyers take into the market is evolving, getting more specific and pricier. EAF mills that were once relegated to the lower ranks on the quality scale, charging their furnaces almost exclusively with steel scrap, now seek better-quality raw materials – leading to better-quality steel output. Scrap still dominates these mills’ raw material needs but EAF producers have an increasing need to “sweeten” the raw… continue reading

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Source: CTRM Center

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