The new calendar year is barely underway, but early data points from the steel industry in the United States are encouraging for the steel and ferrous scrap sectors.
Statistics on crude steel output gathered and published by the Washington-based American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI) point to increased production at U.S. mills. In the first two weeks of January 2017, domestic raw steel production was 3.4 million net tons, with mills operating at a capacity rate of 70.8 percent.
The output figure is up by 5.8 percent from the slightly more than 3.2 million net tons made during the same two-week period in 2016, when the mill capacity rate was just 68.7 percent.
Production in the second full week of 2017 also displayed positive momentum compared with the week before. In the week ending Jan. 14, 2017, output was slightly more than 1.7 million tons, and the mill capacity rate was 72.3 percent. The output figure was 1.9 percent higher compared with the less than 1.7 million tons produced in the first week of 2017, when the mill capacity rate was a lower 71 percent.
Geographically, based on figures for the week ending Jan. 14, 2017, the Great Lakes region has been 2017’s leading steel producer at 667,000 tons of output that week. It was followed by the South region at 600,000 tons, the North East at 216,000 tons, the Midwest at 165,000 tons and finally the Western region with 68,000 tons.
The AISI says its output figures are compiled from weekly production tonnage provided by “50 percent of the domestic producers, combined with monthly production data for the remainder.”