US steep production picked up in the last six months of 2017. In the six months to December 2017, total steel production was up 17% to 7.06 million tons, from 6.05 million a year earlier. As of December 31, 2017, total US imports for consumption of steel products totaled 34.47 million, up 15% from 29.96 million a year earlier, according to the US Census Bureau.
Reflecting the sold market environment, the average share price of the top nine US metal companies was up 21.50% in the six months to February 28, 2018, reflecting higher investor confidence. US Steel was the largest gainer, 72.52%, followed by Commercial Metals Co’s (CMC) (NYSE: CMC) 37.52%, and Schnitzer Steel Industries’ (NYSE: SCHN) 31.94%.
Nucor Corp’s share price recorded the smallest gain, 21.36%, thanks to a 14% increase to 4,998,000 in total steel sold in three months ended December 31, 2017, from 4,400,000 a year earlier, and 30% year-on-year increase in EBIT to US$311.04 million, from US$239.49 million. To strengthen its position in the US industrial metals, in January 2018 the company announced several significant investment plans for 2019.
These included rebar micro mill in Missouri (US$250 million); Nucor Steel Arkansas specialty cold mill complex (US$230 million); Nucor Steel Kankakee Midwest merchant bar expansion (US$180 million); Nucor Steel Gallatin hot band galvanizing line (US$176 million); and Nucor Steel Marion rolling mill upgrade (US$85 million).