Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

Written by Brett Linton & Ethan Bernard


SMU had the pleasure of attending the American Iron and Steel Institute’s (AISI’s) annual general meeting in Washington this week. It was a slow week in our nation’s capital, so we were able to take a leisurely stroll around the National Mall and take in the sights.

Just kidding. In fact, the meeting coincided with significant trade actions announced by the Biden administration. It included, among other things, additional tariffs on Chinese steel and aluminum.

However, beyond tariffs and trade talk, the meeting also included exciting “green” developments. Lourenco Goncalves, Cleveland-Cliffs’ chairman, president, and CEO, and currently chairman of AISI, talked about hydrogen. “Coal fueled the first industrial revolution, and hydrogen will fuel the second industrial revolution,” he said at a press conference at the event.

Earlier this year, Cliffs completed a hydrogen injection trial at its Indiana Harbor No. 7 blast furnace in East Chicago, Ind.

Already the cleanest steel industry in the world, from hydrogen to carbon capture, to EAF steelmaking, the prospect of Net Zero is getting closer, and steel is getting greener.

So in the spirit of decarbonization, and to give the US industry a little pat on the back, we thought this week we’d focus our crossword lens on the issue of sustainability. And, for the record, we’d just like to note that no trees were harmed in the production of this puzzle. Enjoy!

This week in steel history

The Transcontinental Railroad was completed in 1869 as the final rail was placed in Promontory Point, Utah, on May 10. Previously a four- to six-month voyage by wagon, the railroad allowed passengers to cross the US in just seven days. Tickets started at $65 (nearly $1,500 today). More than 1,700 miles of track were laid, consisting of timber for railroad beams and iron and steel for tracks and spikes. The demand for steel for railroad tracks, bridges, and other infrastructure spurred the growth of the steel industry. This led to innovations in steelmaking processes and the establishment of steel mills across the country.

Crossword

Click here to attempt this week’s sustainability crossword.

Brett Linton

Read more from Brett Linton

Ethan Bernard

Read more from Ethan Bernard

Latest in Final Thoughts

Final thoughts

What's the tea in the steel industry this week? Here's the latest SMU gossip column! Just kidding... kind of. Yes, some of the comments we receive in our weekly flat-rolled market steel buyers' survey are honestly too much to put into print. Some make us laugh. Some make us cringe. Some are cryptic. Most are serious. We appreciate them all. Below are some highlights from our survey results this week. Some of the comments that we can share with you are also included, in italics, in the buyers' own words, with minimal editing on our part.

Final thoughts

Unless you've been under a rock, you know by know that Nucor's published HR price for this week is $760 per short ton, down $65/st from the company’s $825/st a week ago. I could use more colorful words. But I think it’s safe to say that most of the market was not expecting this. For starters, US sheet mills never announce price decreases. (OK, not never. It has come to my attention that Severstal North America rescinded a price increase back on Feb. 14, 2012. And it caused quite the ruckus.)