Steel Products Prices North America

Steel Mill Utilization Rate Back Over 60 Percent

Written by Tim Triplett

Capacity utilization by the domestic mills has topped 60 percent once again as the economy and steel demand continue their slow, painful recovery from the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. Raw steel production by U.S. mills totaled 1,354,000 net tons in the week ending Aug. 8, with the mills hitting an average utilization rate of 60.4 percent, reported the American Iron and Steel Institute. That’s an 18.2 percent improvement (9.3 percentage points) from the trough in the week ending May 2 when the mills only produced 1,144,000 tons at a rate of 51.1 percent.

Production in the Aug. 8 week was up 2.0 percent from the prior week when the capability utilization rate was 59.3 percent. That’s still 26.5 percent behind production in the same week last year, AISI reported.

Adjusted year-to-date production through Aug. 8 totaled 47,456,000 net tons at an average utilization rate of 66.0 percent. That’s down 20.1 percent from the same period last year when the utilization rate was 80.7 percent, AISI said.

Following is production by district for the Aug. 8 week: North East: 128,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 471,000 net tons; Midwest, 146,000 net tons; South, 538,000 net tons; and West, 71,000 net tons, for a total of 1,354,000 tons and a net increase of 26,000 tons. Production increased in three of the five regions, with small decreases in the Northeast and West.

Note: 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. Capability for third-quarter 2020 is approximately 29.4 million tons, compared to 30.6 million tons for the same period last year and 29.1 million tons for the second quarter of 2020. 

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