A Deep Dive Into the U.S. and Global Metals Market

Across the construction sector, metals are not only important, they are crucial. The four most common metals used throughout the construction industry are carbon steel, stainless steel, aluminum, and copper.

Carbon Steel: is a steel with carbon content up to 2.1% by weight. Steel is considered to be carbon steel when no minimum contact is specified, there is at least 0.40% of copper, and the maximum content specified for any of the following elements does not exceed their respective percentages: manganese (1.65%), copper, (0.60%), and silicon (0.60%).

Stainless Steel: is a steel allow with a minimum of 10.5% chromium content by mass. These metals are notable for their corrosion resistance, which increases as more chromium is added.

Aluminum: is a silvery-white, soft, nonmagnetic, ductile metal in the boron group. In terms of mass, this metal makes up about 8% of the Earth’s crust and is the third most abundant element (behind silicon and oxygen).

Copper: Is a soft, malleable, ductile metal with extremely high thermal and electrical conductivity. Copper is primarily used as a conductor of heat and electricity, as a construction material, and as a constituent of various metal alloys.

Though these metals are essential for national and international construction purposes, the U.S. steel market has struggled as of late, as imports fell 26% throughout September.

According to Metal Miner, the U.S. has produced 3.5 million more tons of steel this year (through October 27), as compared to last year. However, the country has imported 3.5 million fewer tons of steel. U.S. steel mills have achieved an 80% capacity utilization rate, the minimum level needed to maintain a healthy steel industry, for the first time since April 2012.

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal, however, remains optimistic about the steel sector:

“As anticipated market conditions in the third quarter remained favourable, resulting in significantly improved earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) for the first nine months compared with 2017,” said Lakshmi N. Mittal, CEO and Chairman of ArcelorMittal. “We continue to see robust real demand and healthy utilization rates across all steel segments.”

Additionally, global forecasts report that the world crude stainless steel output will actually reach an all-time high of 51.75 million tons throughout 2018, representing a 7.6% increase on the previous record figure, which was set last year.

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