Steel Products Prices North America

Mills Keep Capacity Utilization Over 80 Percent for the Year

Written by Tim Triplett

Domestic steelmakers finished 2019 strong and managed to keep the average mill capability utilization above the desired 80 percent rate for the year. Mill utilization increased to 81.1 percent in the week ending Dec. 28, the last full week of the year. Raw steel production totaled 1,876,000 net tons, up 0.5 percent from the previous week and up 0.8 percent compared with the same week last year, reported the American Iron and Steel Institute.

Adjusted year-to-date production through Dec. 28 totaled 96,326,000 net tons at an average mill utilization of 80.2 percent–up 1.8 percent from 2018 when the year-to-date utilization rate was 78.2 percent.

Following is production by district for the Dec. 28 week: North East: 223,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 704,000 net tons; Midwest, 197,000 net tons; South, 664,000 net tons; and West, 88,000 net tons, for a total of 1,876,000 tons. Production for the week was flat or up in every region except the South, where output decreased by 4.5 percent following a similar increase in the prior week.

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 fourth-quarter 2019 is approximately 30.4 million tons, compared to 30.8 million tons for the same period last year and 30.6 million tons for third-quarter 2019. Year-to-date totals are adjusted for consistency with monthly data.

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