U.S. raw steel production for the week ending Oct. 19 slowed, with the sector’s capacity utilization rate checking in just below the important 80% mark, all coming as steel prices continue to fall — in some cases, to late 2016 levels.
Capacity utilization for the U.S. steel sector during the week ending Oct. 19 checked in at 79.6%, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).
Production for the week reached 1.84 million tons, down from the 1.88 million tons produced during the equivalent week in 2018 (at a capacity utilization rate of 80.1%).
Meanwhile, production during the week ending Oct. 19 picked up 1.1% from the previous week, when production reached 1.82 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 78.7%.
Production for the year through Oct. 19 checked in at 77.9 million net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 80.3%. The year-to-date production marks a 2.8% increase compared with the same period in 2018, when the rate was 77.5%.
The steel capacity utilization rate remains above the 80% mark for the year, but it has been sliding in recent weeks.
U.S. steel price have showed no signs their slide is nearing an end.
The U.S. HRC price is down 12.63% over the last month, reaching $498/st — dropping below the $500/st mark for the first time since late 2016.
The U.S. CRC price is down 8.99% over the last month, down to $688/st, also its lowest since late 2016.
U.S. HDG is down 9.26% to $745/st.
Meanwhile, plate, which recently lagged behind the other forms of steel, has showed a more moderate decline over the past month. The U.S. plate price is down 1.49% to $727/st, bringing it down to January 2018 levels.
The World Steel Association is set to report September steel production figures later this week.
In its recently released October Short Range Outlook, the World Steel Association forecast global steel demand would rise 3.9% this year, but just 1.0% next year amid slowing overall growth, trade uncertainty and weakness in the automotive sector.