Eastern Time on Thursday (16th), U.S. Steel Corporation (U.S. Steel Corp.) announced that it will spend approximately $3 billion to build a new steel plant. This shows that steel producers are increasingly convinced that the upward trend in US steel prices will continue.
It is reported that the steel plant under preparation will combine two state-of-the-art electric arc furnaces (EAF), mainly using scrap steel, which is more energy-efficient than traditional coal-based integrated power plants. U.S. Steel plans to start construction in the first half of 2022 and start production in 2024.
U.S. Steel said in a statement that the new steel plant is expected to produce 3 million tons of flat steel products, which is part of the company’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emission intensity by 20% by 2030.
According to the statement, the board of directors has authorized an exploratory site selection for this factory. Potential new locations include Indiana and Illinois, where U.S. Steel already has electric arc furnace (EAF) operations.
U.S. Steel’s announcement comes as U.S. steel coil futures prices have more than tripled in the past year. Although this has brought additional profits to domestic suppliers, as the global economy gradually recovers from the epidemic, it has also pushed up the cost of all commodities such as cars, wind turbines and kitchen appliances.
U.S. Steel expects that under the support of continued strong steel prices, its third-quarter performance will reach a record level and reduce debt.
The entire US steel industry has felt the benefits of rising steel prices. Nucor Inc., the largest US steelmaker, said on Thursday that it expects record performance before the end of this year. U.S. Steel Power Corporation predicted on Wednesday that its fourth-quarter results will be stronger than previously expected.
As optimistic about the profit prospects of the steel industry, Deutsche Bank recently raised the target stock price of US Steel from US$38 to US$50. The stock’s latest closing price on Thursday was US$25.39, which means that US Steel’s share price may double in the next 12 months. Deutsche Bank also raised its target price for Nucor Steel from US$100 to US$130.
Citigroup stated at the beginning of the month that U.S. steel prices are currently in the eighth or ninth round after the pandemic recovery. Flat steel prices are 50% higher than the previous record high. U.S. steel prices may not be corrected until early 2022.
Citi further pointed out that even so, steel price retracements will definitely come. Once prices start to fall, steel prices may fall by about half within six months, to below US$1,000/ton.