Steel Products Prices North America

Raw Steel Production, Utilization Climb Further

Written by David Schollaert

Raw steel production by US mills expanded again last week, now rising for a third straight week. Utilization rates grew further, reaching its highest mark in 13 weeks. Domestic output totaled 1,784,000 net tons in the week ending April 23, while mill capacity utilization was 81.7, reported the American Iron and Steel Institute.

US output was up 1.0% versus the week prior but 2.7% below the same year-ago period when production was 1,834,000 net tons. Mill capacity utilization last week was 0.8 percentage points above the prior week and 0.9 percentage points above the same period one year ago when utilization was 80.8%.

Adjusted year-to-date production through April 23 totaled 28,200,000 net tons, at an average utilization rate of 80.3%. That’s down 1.1% from the same period last year when production was 28,506,000 net tons, though the utilization rate was lower at 78.0%, AISI said.

Based on this latest data, AISI’s weekly estimated domestic steelmaking capacity has decreased by 3.9% or 88,000 net tons over the past 12 months – from 2,272,000 net tons to 2,184,000 net tons. The downgrade would suggest the removal of 4.6 million net tons per annum of US steelmaking capability – a knockdown from 118.1 million net tons to 113.5 million net tons.

Production was up in three out of five regions last week. The South district posted the largest per ton and percentage gain week-on-week, up 16,000 net tons or 2.1%, followed by the Great Lakes (+9,000 or 1.6%), and the Northeast (+3,000 or 1.8%). The West posted an 11.7% decline or 9,000 net tons less week-on-week.

Below is the production by region for the week ending April 23: Northeast, 167,000 tons; Great Lakes, 571,000 tons; Midwest, 212,000 tons; South, 766,000 tons; and West, 68,000 tons – for a total of 1,784,000 net tons, up 18,000 net tons from the prior week.

WeeklyRawSteelProd Wk17

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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