Steel Products Prices North America

Mill Utilization Hovers Around a Healthy 85%

Written by David Schollaert

Domestic raw steel production edged down marginally in the week ending Sept. 18 after climbing to a new pandemic-era high the week prior. According to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), production by U.S. mills was estimated at 1,874,000 net tons while the average utilization rate was 84.9%. Mill utilization has fluctuated in recent weeks but has nonetheless hovered around a healthy 85%.

Weekly output slipped by 0.4% compared to the week prior when production was 1,882,000 net tons and average utilization was 85.3%. Last week’s production total represents a 21.9% increase from year-ago levels, when output was 1,537,000 net tons and utilization was just 68.6% due to COVID.

Adjusted year-to-date production through Sept. 18 was 67,660,000 net tons, at an average utilization rate of 80.9%. That’s up 20.2% from the same period last year when the utilization rate was 66.8% and production was 56,304,000 net tons, AISI said.

Production increased in three of the five regions last week, but was offset by decreases in the South and West regions. Following is production by region for the Sept. 18 week: North East, 176,000 tons; Great Lakes, 641,000 tons; Midwest, 205,000 tons; South, 776,000 tons; and West, 76,000 tons, for a total of 1,874,000 net tons, down 8,000 net tons from the prior week.

WeeklyRawSteelProd Wk38

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. 

By David Schollaert,

David Schollaert

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