Amid resilient auto sales, anxiety over future trade friction and a stream of improved profits, major steel suppliers have unveiled $9.7 billion in planned plant investments to boost their U.S. capacity.
The bullish spending plans, announced over the past year, have been welcomed by traditional steel states and potential new sites that hope to attract auto industry investment.
Among the plans, Steel Dynamics Inc. said in November it will invest as much as $1.8 billion to build a mill at an undecided U.S. site. ArcelorMittal has informed steelworkers that it plans to spend $3.1 billion on U.S. factories. And U.S. Steel Corp. is eyeing plant investments of $2.5 billion.
The last steel mill brought online in the U.S. was in 2015.
As with other auto suppliers, steel makers are showing that they are not limited to traditional geography as they consider sites for new production capacity.
Steel Dynamics, of Fort Wayne, Ind., said it will build its proposed plant in the southwestern United States. Its strategy is to supply the flat-rolled steel market by being as close as possible to its U.S. customers as well as the growing Mexico market. The company expects to begin production in 2021 and hire about 600 people.