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The 2017 Steel Rebound: Will It Continue?
Nov 30, 2017

Several major steel producers reported their third-quarter and nine-month results in recent days and most of them had good news to tell. The steel industry has been on the rebound this year, although a recent report questions how long that will last.

Nucor’s earnings through the first nine months of this year were the highest for the same time period of every year since 2008. Nucor’s January-to-September earnings of $948.4 million were 33% above the $636.6 million it earned for the first nine months of 2016. The company’s net earnings of $268.5 million in the third quarter were down from $323.0 million in the second quarter and from $305.4 million in the third quarter of last year.

“Nucor’s disciplined strategy for profitable growth is working,” said CFO Jim Frias during the company’s recent earnings call for analysts and journalists. “Although illegally traded imports remain at unacceptable levels, we are encouraged by the cumulative benefits of the U.S. steel industry’s successful trade cases.”

ArcelorMittal, a global steel concern based in the Netherlands, also reported favorable nine-month results. “Market conditions are favorable,” said Lakshmi Mittal, the company’s chairman and CEO. “The demand environment remains positive.”

ArcelorMittal’s steel sales for the first nine months of 2017 increased by 19.5% to $51.0 billion, compared with $42.7 billion for the same period last year. Higher average steel selling prices, which were up over 20%, was cited by Mittal as the number-one reason for the improved performance. The company’s North American footprint includes production facilities in Indiana and Mexico, the latter recently receiving a new $1-billion investment from the company.