Steel Products Prices North America

Weekly Steel Production, Utilization Slip 0.2%

Written by David Schollaert

Raw steel production by U.S. mills totaled 1,835,000 net tons in the week ended June 26, down 0.2% compared with the week prior when production was 1,839,000 net tons. The average mill utilization rate was 82.7%, also down 0.2% week on week, based on the available data compiled and reported by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). Last week’s output represents a 44.3% increase from year-ago levels, when production was just 1,272,000 net tons and utilization was a meager 56.8% as steel mills continued to manage coronavirus-related disruptions.

The latest data from AISI indicates annual steelmaking production capacity was sideways for the first time in five weeks. The estimated annual capacity has decreased by 2.4% over the past four weeks, from 118.1 million tons to 115.3 million tons. The correction is in line with the associations’ ongoing review of its statistical process. As recently indicated, further changes are likely as permanently idled capacity is accounted for, while soon-to-be new capacity is introduced.

Although mill utilization is back in line with pre-pandemic levels and rising—it recently eclipsed the 80.0% mark for the first time since the week ended March 14, 2020—adjustments to production capacity have brought output down by 4.9% when compared to February 2020 levels.

Adjusted year-to-date production through June 26 was 45,054,000 net tons, at an average utilization rate of 78.8%. That’s up 15.2% from the same period last year when the utilization rate was 67.8% and production was 39,109,000 net tons, AISI said.

Following is production by district for the June 26 week: North East, 136,000 net tons; Great Lakes, 645,000 net tons; Midwest, 196,000 net tons; South, 785,000 net tons; and West, 73,000 net tons, for a total of 1,835,000 net tons. Production was down 4,000 net tons compared to the week prior. The increased output in the Great Lakes, Midwest, and South districts week on week, was offset by decreased output in the North East and West districts.

Weekly Raw Steel Production

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.

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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