U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate continues to inch upward

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Steel production

The U.S. steel sector’s capacity utilization rate ticked up again last week, continuing a recent string of incremental upward movement.

U.S. steel mills produced 1.3 million tons of steel during the week ending July 18, 2020, up 1.3% from the previous week, according to the American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI).

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The weekly total came at a capacity utilization rate of 58.3%, up from 57.5% the previous week.

However, steel production levels remain well below 2019 levels.

The capacity utilization rate for the week ending July 18, 2019, reached 79.4%, with production of 1.85 million tons.

Adjusted year-to-date production through July 18, 2020, reached 43.2 million net tons, at a capacity utilization rate of 66.3%.

The year-to-date production figure marked a 19.7% decline from the 53.9 million net tons during the same period last year, when the capacity utilization rate was 80.9%.

By region, steel production for the week ending July 18, 2020, totaled:

  • Northeast: 143,000 tons
  • Great Lakes: 450,000 tons
  • Midwest: 135,000 tons
  • Southern: 521,000 tons
  • Western: 57,000 tons

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Earlier this month, AISI reported May steel shipments fell 32.9% on a year-over-year basis.

U.S. steel mills shipped 5.46 million net tons in May, down 2.9% decrease from the tonnage shipped in April 2020, AISI reported.

The total marked a 32.9% decrease from the 8.14 million net tons shipped in May 2019.

Shipments during the year to date in 2020 totaled 35.2 million net tons, down 13.1% from shipments during the first five months of 2019.

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