U.S. Steel Mill Production Up 5.9% Through Mid-June

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For the year through June 15, U.S. steel mills are outperforming their 2018 production totals by a wide margin.

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U.S. steel mills churned out 45.0 million tons of steel for the year through June 15, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI). The total marked a 5.9% increase from the same period in 2018, when mills produced 42.5 million tons of steel.

Capacity utilization rate for the period reached 81.5% in 2019, up from 76.7% for the equivalent period in 2018.

Meanwhile, for the week ending June 15, production totaled 1.89 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 81.1%. The weekly production marked a 4.0% year-over-year increase and a 0.6% increase from the previous week (when production totaled 1.88 million tons).

By region, production for the week ending June 15 totaled:

  • Northeast: 215,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 710,000 tons
  • Midwest: 199,000 tons
  • Southern: 694,000 tons
  • Western: 69,000 tons

On the price front, the U.S. Midwest 3-month HRC price showed strength early in the month, opening at $577/st, according to MetalMiner IndX data, before rising as high as $592/st on June 5. Since then, the price has retreated, falling to $564/st as of June 17.

After opening the month at $837/st, U.S. HDG fell to $797/st as of June 17.

U.S. CRC has also lost ground, opening the month at $741/st and falling to $724/st as of June 17.

Overall, as MetalMiner’s Belinda Fuller noted in this Monday’s analyst note, CRC and plate prices held essentially flat through the first half of June.

In other steel news, the U.S. Steel’s Clairton Coke Works resumed full production late Monday after an electrical fire earlier in the day impacted the plant’s coke gas desulfurization processes.

“At approximately 8:15 p.m. on Monday, June 17, repairs were completed at our Clairton Plant following a small electrical fire that occurred early Monday morning,” U.S. Steel said in a statement. “At this time, normal operations have resumed and we have successfully restored the desulfurization process.

“Restarting the desulfurization facility and minimizing the potential for impacts to the environment and community were of the highest priority for the company.

“During this brief suspension of our desulfurization capabilities, mitigation efforts were deployed and no exceedances of sulfur dioxide were recorded at nearby air quality monitors as of data available through 5:00 p.m.”

On June 4, the steelmaker announced repairs to the plant that it said would allow it desulfurize 100% of the coke oven gas produced at the plant.

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“U. S. Steel is pleased to announce that we are now desulfurizing 100% of the coke oven gas generated at our Clairton Plant,” the steelmaker said in a statement earlier this month. “While we employed many effective mitigation measures after a fire on Dec. 24 caused catastrophic damage to the facility, we are now able to operate the state-of-the-art desulfurization plant again. This is an important milestone in our repair efforts and we will continue to monitor and adjust coking times as appropriate.”

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