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US steel capability utilization falls to 60.9%, lowest since 2009

The US steel industry’s capability utilization dropped to 60.9% last week to the lowest level reached since the week ended December 26, 2009, according to American Iron and Steel Institute data.

In the week ended Saturday, US mills produced 1.456 million st of raw steel, down 4.4% from the 1.523 million st made the week before. The industry’s capability utilization tumbled to 60.9%, down from 63.7% the week before. Last week’s output was 18.9% lower than the 1.795 million st produced in the same week last year.

AISI estimated the industry’s fourth-quarter capability was 31.4 million st, down from 31.6 million st in the year-ago quarter.

Year-to-date steel production was down 9.3% to 86.843 million st, compared with 95.706 million st in the same period last year. The industry’s average capability utilization in 2014 was 71%, down from 77.5% in the same period of 2014.

Production fell of sharply in the South, Midwest and West. Southern mills cut production by 8.9% week on week to 448,000 st, down from 492,000 st. Midwest mills reduced production by 9.4% to 183,000 st, compared with 202,000 st. Western steel production dropped 10.8% last week to 58,000 st, down from 65,000 st.

AISI determines its weekly raw steel production data based on weekly data from 50% of the domestic industry and estimates the rest using monthly production data.
Source: Platts

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