U.S. steel capacity utilization rate ticks up to 55.4%

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The percentage of U.S. steel mills’ capacity utilization rate jumped to 55.4% for the week ending June 27, up from 54.6% for the previous week.

U.S. steel production for the week ending June 27 totaled 1.24 million tons, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), up 1.3% from the previous week but down 33.4% year over year (production for the same week in 2019 totaled 1.86 million tons).

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For the year through June 27, 2020, U.S. steel production reached 39.17 million net tons at a capacity utilization rate of 67.0%, down 18.9% from the same period last year (when the rate reached 81.2%, in excess of the 80% target rate laid out by the Department of Commerce when it imposed Section 232 tariffs on imported steel and aluminum in 2018).

By region, steel production for the week ending June 27, 2020, totaled:

  • Northeast: 123,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 409,000 tons
  • Midwest: 132,000 tons
  • Southern: 516,000 tons
  • Western: 60,000 tons

Imports down 19.2%

From the import perspective, U.S. steel imports through the first five months of 2020 totaled 10.98 million tons, down 19.2% year over year, according to U.S. Census Bureau data.

Finished steel import market share in May reached 23%, up from the estimated 18% share through the first five months of the year.

According to the Census Bureau data cited by AISI, May imports of oil country goods were up 71% compared with the previous month, while standard pipe imports jumped 44% and heavy structural shape imports rose 37%.

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Steel prices flatten out in June

The U.S. HRC price appeared to flatten out in June after posting some increases in May.

The HRC price closed Monday at $500/st, up 0.4% from a month prior.

Similar, U.S. CRC closed Monday at $681/st, up 0.44% from the previous month.

U.S. HDG closed at $730/st, down 1.88% from the previous month.

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