U.S. Steel Mills’ Capacity Utilization Rate Inches Over 80% for YTD

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U.S. steel mills achieved a capacity utilization rate of 80.3% for the year through Jan. 26, according to a recent report by the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

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Year-to-date production hit 70.07 million tons, according to the AISI report, up 10.9% from the 6.37 million net tons during the same period last year. Capacity utilization rate for the same period in 2018 was 73.6%.

For the week ending Jan. 26, production hit 1.92 million tons, up 12.1% from the same week in 2018. In addition, production for the week ending Jan. 26 was up 0.5% from the previous week.

By region, the Great Lakes led the way for the week ending Jan. 26 with production of 724,000 tons, followed by the South (691,000), Northeast (224,000), Midwest (205,000) and West (78,000).

On Monday, President Donald Trump touted his administration’s tariffs.

“Tariffs on the ‘dumping’ of Steel in the United States have totally revived our Steel Industry,” Trump tweeted. “New and expanded plants are happening all over the U.S. We have not only saved this important industry, but created many jobs. Also, billions paid to our treasury. A BIG WIN FOR U.S.”

According to a World Steel Association report late last week, the U.S. produced 86.7 million tons of crude steel in 2018, up 6.2% compared with 2017.

Last year, steel prices surged to more than seven-year highs, riding the boost from the Section 232 tariff implementation.

However, as MetalMiner’s Irene Martinez Canorea noted last week, steel prices — except for plate prices — have been trending downward since August.

Chinese steel prices have also been stuck in a downtrend.

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“Chinese steel prices have fallen since September 2018,” Martinez Canorea wrote. “Steel prices have been softer in China this year, driven by signals of weaker demand and a slower manufacturing index.”

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