Steel Products Prices North America

U.S. Mill Output Dips in December, But Still at 80% Capacity

Written by Brett Linton

Raw steel production by U.S. steelmakers in the week ending Dec. 8 saw a slight dip for the third week in a row, possibly reflecting seasonal weaknesss, but stayed at the 80.0 percent capacity utilization level the mills strive to maintain. Steel production totaled 1,876,000 net tons for the week, down 0.8 percent from the prior week, but up 11.9 percent from the prior year, reports the American Iron and Steel Institute.

U.S. steelmakers have produced 5.9 percent more raw steel so far this year. Adjusted year-to-date production through Dec. 8 totaled 89,404,000 net tons. The average capacity utilization rate for the year has increased by more than 4 percentage points, to 78.2 percent from 74.0 percent in 2017.

Following is production by district for the Dec. 8 week: North East: 224,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 694,000 net tons; Midwest, 191,000 net tons; South, 680,000 net tons; and West, 87,000 net tons, for a total of 1,876,000.

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.

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

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