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Weekly Raw Steel Production: Industry Finally Hits 80 Percent Utilization Goal

Written by Brett Linton

U.S. raw steel production finally topped the 80 percent capaciity utilization level the industry considers necessary for sustainable profitability. The American Iron and Steel Institute reported a utilization rate for the week ending Sept. 8 of 80.2 percent, up from 79.8 percent in the prior week, and up from 73.4 percent the same week one year ago. The last time the capability utilization rate was this high was the week ending Aug. 23, 2014, when 1,932,000 tons were produced at a rate of 80.3 percent.

Raw steel production for the week totaled 1,879,000 net tons, the eighth week in a row that steel output topped 1.8 million tons. Production was up 0.5 percent from the previous week and up 9.8 percent from the same period last year.

Adjusted year-to-date producton through Sept. 8 totaled 64,876,000 net tons at a capability utilization rate of 77.3 percent, up 4.1 percent from the same period last year when the capability utilization was 74.4 percent.

Following is production by district for the week: North East: 221,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 685,000 net tons; Midwest, 199,000 net tons; South, 689,000 net tons; and West, 85,000 net tons, for a total of 1,879,000.

Note, mill capability for third-quarter 2018 is approximately 30.8 million tons, compared to 30.6 million tons for the same period last year and 30.5 million tons for second-quarter 2018.

The raw steel production tonnage provided in this report is estimated. The figures are compiled from weekly production tonnage from 50 percent of the domestic producers combined with monthly production data for the remainder. Therefore, this report should be used primarily to assess production trends. The AISI monthly production report provides a more detailed summary of steel production based on data supplied by companies representing 75 percent of U.S. production capacity.

Brett Linton

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