Steel Products Prices North America

Steel Mill Utilization Dips to 77.7 Percent

Written by Tim Triplett

Steelmakers had a good run, keeping their mills running at 80 percent capacity or better for 30 weeks this year. But the market has shifted and the trend has reversed. Raw steel production by U.S. mills saw another small decline last week, taking the industry’s average capability utilization rate down to 77.7 percent. Mill utilization is down 5.7 percentage points from its 10-year high of 83.4 percent in March.

Production for the week ending Sept. 21 totaled 1,809,000 net tons, down 0.1 percent from the previous week and down 3.1 percent compared with the same period last year, reported the American Iron and Steel Institute. 

U.S. mills have produced 70,768,000 net tons for the year to date, a 3.6 percent increase compared with the same period in 2018. Mill utilization has averaged 80.6 percent so far this year, up from 77.5 percent last year.

Following is production by district for the Sept 21 week: North East: 197,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 703,000 net tons; Midwest, 187,000 net tons; South, 649,000 net tons; and West, 73,000 net tons, for a total of 1,809,000 tons. Production for the week was down in the North East and South, but up in the Great Lakes, Midwest and West.

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: Capability for third-quarter 2019 is approximately 30.6 million tons compared to 30.8 million tons for the same period last year and 30.3 million tons for second-quarter 2019.

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