Steel Products Prices North America

Weekly Mill Utilization Eclipses the 80% Mark

Written by David Schollaert

Raw steel production by U.S. mills totaled 1,836,000 net tons in the week ended May 29, up 2.4% compared to the week prior when production totaled 1,793,000 net tons, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). The mill utilization rate last week averaged 81.5%, up from 79.0% the week before and up 50.1% from the same period last year when production was 1,223,000 net tons and mill utilization was just 54.6% because of COVID-driven interruptions.

For the first week since the global health crisis curbed U.S. steel production in mid-March 2020, output and mill utilization have returned to pre-pandemic levels, according the data compiled by AISI. Mill utilization eclipsed the 80.0% mark last seen during the week ended March 14, 2020. When comparing the latest data to the same pre-COVID-19 period in 2019, current production is down just 2.9%.

Adjusted year-to-date production through May 29 was 35,913,000 net tons, at an average utilization rate of 78.1%. That’s up 9.5% from the same period last year when the utilization rate was 69.9% and production was 32,811,000 net tons, AISI said.

Following is production by district for the May 29 week: North East, 147,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 635,000 net tons; Midwest, 187,000 net tons; South, 793,000 net tons; and West, 74,000 net tons, for a total of 1,836,000 net tons. Production was up 43,000 net tons compared to the week prior. All districts except for the West posted increased outputs week-on-week.

Note: The raw steel production tonnage provided in this report is estimated. The figures are compiled from weekly production tonnage provided by approximately 50% of the domestic production capacity combined with the most recent monthly production data for the remainder. Therefore, this report should be used primarily to assess production trends. The AISI production report “AIS 7”, published monthly and available by subscription, provides a more detailed summary of steel production based on data supplied by companies representing 75% of U.S. production capacity. Given the large number of changes to steelmaking capability in the current rapidly evolving market environment, AISI is undertaking a comprehensive review of its raw steel production and capability utilization statistics to ensure that they accurately reflect market conditions. Any updates to capability will be phased in over several weeks. Capability for the second quarter 2021 is approximately 29.3 million tons.

WeeklyRawSteelProd Wk22

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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