The Washington-based American Iron & Steel Association (AISI) has reported a U.S. steel output figure for the week ending Jan. 2 that is 3.1 percent higher compared with the prior week.
AISI says the 1.65 million tons of steel produced during the week was made with mills operating at a 74.6 percent capability utilization (capacity) rate of 74.6 percent. While the week-on-week growth is a positive signal, steel output remains below pre-COVID-19 outbreak levels.
The 1.65 million tons of steel made the week ending Jan. 2 was down 10.4 percent compared with the 1.84 million tons of output the week ending Jan. 2, 2020. At that time, mills were operating at 80.1 percent of capacity.
The 10.4 percent year-ago decrease represents improvement from the lowest point in COVID-19-related impacts, in late April and early May 2020. At that time, mills were operating at 51.1 percent of capacity at the sector’s low point.
Increased steel production in the U.S. could cause additional upward pressure on ferrous scrap prices, which closed 2020 with an $80 per ton increase in December.