According to a recent American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) report, the U.S. steel industry operated at a capacity utilization rate of 81.0% for the year through Aug. 24.
Adjusted year-to-date steel production reached 63.55 million tons, according to AISI, up 4.4% from the 60.86 million tons produced during the same period in 2018. The 2019 capacity utilization rate of 81.0% marked an increase from the 77.3% posted during the same time frame in 2018.
In a more constricted window, production for the week ending Aug. 24, production totaled 1.88 million tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.6%, up 0.9% from the 1.86 million tons and 79.4% posted during the same week in 2018.
Meanwhile, production for the week ending Aug. 24, 2019, increased 1.1% from the previous week, when production reached 1.86 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 79.8%.
Broken down by region for the week ending Aug. 24, 2019, production totaled:
- Northeast: 202,000 tons
- Great Lakes: 681,000 tons
- Midwest: 204,000 tons
- Southern: 719,000 tons
- Western: 71,000 tons
Meanwhile, according to another AISI report, U.S. imports of steel for the year through July fell 10.6% on a year-over-year basis. Imports totaled 18.67 million tons through the first seven months of the year. Annualized steel imports come in at an estimated 32.0 million tons, which would mark a 5.1% decline compared with 2018 import levels.
However, in July, imports totaled 3.03 million tons, marking a 48.3% increase compared with the previous month.
Finished steel import market share came in at an estimated 19% in July and stands at 21% for the first seven months of the year.
According to the AISI report, individual steel products with notable increases in import levels in July compared with June included: cut lengths plates (up 55%), line pipe (up 29%), hot rolled bars (up 24%), plates in coils (up 23%), standard pipe (up 21%), hot rolled sheets (up 19%), sheets and strip hot dipped galvanized (18%), wire rods (up 16%), mechanical tubing (up 16%), sheets and strip all other metallic coatings (up 11%), and heavy structural shapes (up 10%).