U.S. Steel Production Falls, Capacity Utilization Drops to 80.6%

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Liquid steel.
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While U.S. steel production continues to remain up in the year to date compared with last year, production has slowed of late.

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Year-to-date steel production (through Sept. 21, 2019) reached 70.77 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 80.6%. Production during that timeframe marked a 3.6% increase from the same period last year, when 68.32 million net tons were produced at a capacity utilization rate of 77.5%.

The year-to-date capacity utilization rate ticked downward for a second straight week, losing another one-tenth of a percentage point (down to 80.6% from last week’s year-to-date capacity utilization rate of 80.7%).

Meanwhile, for the week ending Sept. 21, 2019, U.S. raw steel production hit 1.81 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 77.7%. The production for the week declined 3.1% compared with the same week in 2018, when production was 1.87 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 79.6%.

Production for the week ending Sept. 21, 2019, was down 0.1% from the previous week, when production reached 1.811 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 77.8%.

By region, production for the week ending Sept. 21, 2019, checked in at:

  • Northeast: 197,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 703,000 tons
  • Midwest: 187,000 tons
  • Southern: 649,000 tons
  • Western: 73,000 tons

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Falling production comes as major U.S. steel firms have recently released less than inspiring third-quarter guidance, with many pointing to slumping steel prices.

Prices for U.S. HRC and HDG have fallen by 3.39% and 2.38%, respectively, over the last month, according to MetalMiner Insights data.

Meanwhile, the plate price fall has been steeper. U.S. steel plate is down 7.63% over the last month; elevated U.S. production has served as a primary depressive factor.

U.S. scrap steel prices have also joined in the recent slide, falling 5.62% over the last month.

However, with U.S. steel mills’ output on the decline of late, it remains to be seen if the various forms of steel can gain some amount of upward momentum as a result.

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