Steel output in US advancing slowly

AISI reports two consecutive weeks of steel production growth.

finished steel rolls
Although steel output in the U.S. is rising, it is 6.6 percent lower compared with last year at this time.
Photo courtesy of United States Steel Corp.

The Washington-based American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) says week-on-week steel output in the United States rose by 1.1 percent in the third week of January compared with the prior week, marking two consecutive weeks of rising mill output.

In the week ending Jan. 21, domestic raw steel production checked in at 1.62 million tons, which was an increase of 1.1 percent from the week ending Jan. 14, when output was 1.602 million tons.

The week ending Jan. 14 figure was itself 0.4 percent higher compared with the prior week ending Jan. 7, 2023, when output was 1.595 million tons.

Any bounce back in steel output likely will be welcomed by ferrous scrap generators and processors, who endured seven consecutive months of falling prices and lower scrap demand from domestic mills in 2022. Only in the past several weeks have ferrous scrap prices experienced a rebound.

In the most recently completed week, the steel mill capability utilization (capacity) rate in the U.S. was 72.5 percent. That also represents a slight rebound from the 71.3 percent capacity rate calculated by AISI for the first week of January.

Domestic steelmaking still has considerable room to grow to match output in the early part of last year. AISI says the 1.62 million tons produced in the week ending Jan. 21, 2023, is down by 6.6 percent compared with the 1.735 million tons made the identical week in 2022. In mid-January 2022, the mill capacity rate stood at 79.8 percent.

According to AISI, the geographic region with the highest output in the most recently completed week was the southern U.S., which made 681,000 tons of raw steel. The South was followed by the Great Lakes region, with 542,000 tons of output; the Midwest (202,000 tons); the Northeast (127,000 tons) and the AISI’s Western region (68,000 tons).

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