Nucor sees reshoring boosting demand for steel
Several federal spending measures are poised to spur demand for steel rebar and other steel products made by Nucor, says the firm. Charlotte, North Carolina-based steelmaker Nucor Corp. cites infrastructure spending, reshoring and “green economy” investments as three factors that will help drive demand for its steel products in the 2020s. In its late January presentation to investors, Nucor points to recently adopted federal policies as tied to all three of these trends. The scrap-fed electric arc furnace (EAF) steel producer says the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act, passed in late 2021 , “adds $550 billion [in] infrastructure spending over the next decade.” Nucor forecasts the spending measure is “expected to increase steel demand by 3 million to 5 million tons” per year, and says the law’s “first wave of new bridge projects [was] announced in January.” Regarding reshoring—typically defined as the return to the United States of manufacturing operations from overseas locations—Nucor points to the CHIPS and Science Act, signed into law last August , as providing about $55 billion in “incentives to reshore essential manufacturing.” The steelmaker says the CHIPS Act is prompting an expected 27 projects by 2029, including 10 semiconductor plants with average cost of about $11 billion. These “advanced manufacturing facilities are highly steel intensive,” says Nucor. The steelmaker’s presence in the wind energy market will receive a boost from the Inflation Reduction Act, also signed into law last August , says Nucor. That measure “includes about $370 billion of tax incentives for clean energy investments, [with the] Biden administration targeting 30 gigawatts of US offshore wind by 2030,” says the steel producer. Nucor says it sees the potential of about 7.5 million tons of steel in that effort, and has pointed to its newest mill in Brandenburg, Kentucky, as equipped to serve that market. In a portrayal of its capital projects in the same investor presentation , Nucor says it has invested more than $2.1 billion in steel sheet and bar production that came online between 2019 and 2022. Those investments yielded about $620 million in earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) in 2022 alone, says the company. Regarding the first quarter of 2023 now underway, Nucor says it expects “more stable pricing and higher DRI and scrap volumes” in its Raw Materials business unit, which includes the David J. Joseph Co. network of scrap yards. Nucor also predicts “improved profitability on higher volumes and improved margins” in its EAF steel production business unit. That would follow what was already a record year of profitability in 2022.
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