Steel output in the United States edged above 1.22 million tons the week ending June 20, representing a 1.2 percent increase from output in the previous week. Output continues to lag well behind (by 34.3 percent) year-ago levels. The week ending June 20, 2019, more than 1.86 million tons of steel were produced.
According to the calculations of the Washington-based American Iron and Steel Institute (AISI), the mill operating capacity rate was 54.6 percent the week ending June 20, down from an 80.1 percent rate during the comparable week in 2019.
Steel output numbers have been on a slow-rising trend since mid-May, after falling dramatically in late March and April as COVID-19 restrictions were introduced in the U.S. Weekly output fell to as low as 1.14 million tons the week ending May 2, when the mill capacity rate was 51.1 percent.
The AISI says steel shipments for the month of April 2020 fell by 31.5 percent compared with April 2019. Compared with the previous month, April 2020 shipments of cold-rolled sheet steel feel by 29 percent, hot-rolled sheet shipments dropped by 31 percent and shipments of hot-dipped galvanized sheet steel fell by 35 percent.
On the trade front, the AISI in late June welcomed a U.S. Supreme Court decision that rejected a challenge by steel importers to the constitutionality of the Trump administration’s Section 232 protections for certain types of steel.
“We are pleased that the U.S. Supreme Court today rightly affirmed our strong belief, and the previous decisions of the Court of International Trade and Court of Appeals, that the challenge to the Section 232 statute is without merit,” says Thomas J. Gibson, AISI president and CEO.
“The decision by the Supreme Court today not to hear further arguments in this case is acknowledgement once again that Congress acted within its constitutional authority when it authorized the president to take action to adjust imports that threaten to impair our national security. We have consistently maintained this fact and are pleased that the highest court agreed,” adds Gibson.