U.S. Steel will closely evaluate market conditions before making any decisions on bringing back two recently idled blast furnaces - at Great Lakes Works near Detroit and Gary Works near Chicago.
"We want to make sure that we’re able to sell the value and create the value for our stockholders," president and chief executive officer David B Burritt said during a quarterly earnings conference call on Friday August 2, adding that any restart of the idled furnaces would happen at an "appropriate pace" and at an "appropriate time."
Market conditions are pointing up, despite the fact that recently lower published steel pricing will impact U.S. Steel's third-quarter results due to a lag in feeding through to contract sales. "I think it's clear to everybody that we've reached a bottom on index pricing," Kevin Lewis, general manager, investor relations, said during the call, adding that "market chatter on scrap pricing is certainly positive."
He said market demand is "generally strong" and lead times for hot-rolled coil now extend to about five weeks.
Fastmarkets' daily steel hot-rolled coil index, fob mill US, was calculated at $29.90 per hundredweight ($598 per short ton) on Thursday August 1, down by 17.4% from $36.21 per cwt at the start of the year.